Facebook confirms it scans photos and conversations in its Messenger app

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Facebook has confirmed that it scans photos and conversations in its Messenger app to ensure that it is up to the “community standard”, according to a recently published report in Bloomberg.

In an interview given by Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, about Messenger’s privacy concerns, Zuckerberg confirmed that the app reads chats when they send up a red flag to the moderators.

If it doesn’t, it gets blocked or taken down.

In another interview given to Vox’s Ezra Klein, he said that he had once received a phone call related to ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. The app had detected people trying to send sensational messages through the Messenger app.

“In that case, our systems detect what’s going on,” Zuckerberg said. “We stop those messages from going through.”

In a statement given by a Facebook Messenger spokeswoman, “On Messenger, when you send a photo, our automated systems scan it using photo matching technology to detect known child exploitation imagery or when you send a link, we scan it for malware or viruses. Facebook designed these automated tools so we can rapidly stop abusive behavior on our platform”, she said.

According to the company, the Messenger scanning systems “are very similar to those that other internet companies use today.” Facebook also added that Messenger data isn’t used for advertising.

Facebook has come under a lot of scrutiny since it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics company had obtained data from 50 million users to influence voters’ decisions during the 2016 presidential election.

On Wednesday, Facebook said that it now believed that up to 87 million Facebook users may have had their data harvested by Cambridge Analytica.

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