Elon Musk posted a warning on Twitter regarding WhatsApp after a Twitter user posted that the site was violating their privacy by accessing their phone’s microphone.
Twitter user Foad Dabri is Twitter’s director of engineering. He posted a photo documenting his WhatsApp timeline showing the company had overstepped on its access to his phone’s mic.
Musk responded directly, saying, “WhatsApp cannot be trusted.”
WhatsApp cannot be trusted https://t.co/3gdNxZOLLy
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2023
The WhatsApp Company also responded to the Twitter post, saying they had been in touch with the Twitter engineer who posted the issue with WhatsApp. The company attempted to write the issue off as a simple bug, saying they had asked Google to look into it,
“We believe this is a bug on Android that misattributes information in their Privacy Dashboard and have asked Google to investigate and remediate.”
Over the last 24 hours we’ve been in touch with a Twitter engineer who posted an issue with his Pixel phone and WhatsApp.
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We believe this is a bug on Android that mis-attributes information in their Privacy Dashboard and have asked Google to investigate and remediate. https://t.co/MnBi3qE6Gp
— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) May 9, 2023
More and more, everyday Americans are concerned with maintaining their privacy. Meta, Mark Zuckerberg’s company, purchased the messaging service WhatsApp in 2014; Meta also owns Facebook and Instagram.
In 2018 Senator Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, asked Zuckerberg a direct question about whether or not Facebook was listening to platform users, which some called a “conspiracy theory.” The accusation was that Facebook listened to users’ conversations so they could target advertising.
PETERS: Yes or no: Does Facebook use audio obtained from mobile devices to enrich personal information about its users?
According to Mediaite, Zuckerberg’s response was aimed at the “conspiracy theory” and went on to note that there is an audio component for users who post video footage, which “was a bit of an unnecessary clarification, though, given that the question was about surreptitious recording, not something users were explicitly recording media to share.”
Musk’s vague warning about the messaging platform continued in a follow-up Tweet. He said,
“WhatsApp founders left Meta/Facebook in disgust, started the #deletefacebook campaign, and made major contributions to building Signal. What they learned about Facebook and changes to WhatsApp obviously disturbed them greatly.”
Meta has responded to “spying” allegations in the past and also denies that the social media platforms listen in, saying, “Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp do not listen in or use the cell phone microphone to influence advertising in any way.”