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Facebook admits it sometimes monitors content sent through Messenger

Facebook Messenger is a separate app used for sending messages to Facebook contacts. (Source: CNN) Facebook Messenger is a separate app used for sending messages to Facebook contacts. (Source: CNN)

(CNN/RNN) – The privacy of your Facebook messages does not extend to Facebook itself, and they can be scanned for content.

The company has confirmed it uses automated tools to make sure chats on its Facebook Messenger app don't contain malicious content, such as malware links or child pornography.

Facebook employees can also review messages when they’re flagged by users, or the automated system.

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said the company does not listen to voice or video calls.

But the data policy updated this week states the social media giant does collect content and information 

In an interview with Vox, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also admitted that Messenger conversations can, under certain circumstances, be monitored.

Zuckerberg was asked about Facebook’s effect on the political turmoil in Myanmar, where elements of the country’s Buddhist majority, including the army, have been persecuting the Muslim minority Rohingyas.

He said he was notified of manipulative messages being sent, through Messenger, to both sides in the conflict, with the aim of stoking violence.

“That’s the kind of thing where I think it is clear that people were trying to use our tools in order to incite real harm,” he said. “Now, in that case, our systems detect that that’s going on. We stop those messages from going through.”

The company’s statement however stressed that the content of messages “is not used for ads targeting.”

Facebook’s data protection practices have been scrutinized in recent weeks.

The company acknowledged Cambridge Analytica, a political data mining and consulting company that worked for President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, improperly obtained profile data from millions of users.

Zuckerberg apologized after a backlash, calling it “a major breach of trust.”  

Copyright 2018 CNN via Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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