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Friday, April 12, 2024

Elon Musk joins criticism of Meta’s privacy practices after WhatsApp incident

Privacy concerns rise as WhatsApp accesses user's microphone without consent, sparking criticism from Elon Musk and Twitter users.

In recent years, concerns over privacy and data protection have become increasingly prominent in the tech industry. One of the latest incidents involves WhatsApp, a messaging app owned by Meta, formerly known as Facebook. A Twitter user and former Google engineer, Foad Dabiri, recently discovered that WhatsApp had accessed his phone’s microphone multiple times without his knowledge or consent. The revelation sparked criticism from numerous internet users, including Elon Musk, who questioned Meta’s direction for WhatsApp.

Privacy Concern

According to Dabiri, his Pixel 7 Pro device showed that WhatsApp accessed his microphone nine times during the early morning hours. The app reportedly accessed the microphone without any user interaction, raising concerns about potential privacy violations. Dabiri’s experience prompted him to post a screenshot on Twitter, which quickly gained attention from the Twitter community.

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Twitter community

The Twitter community mobilised quickly, with many expressing concern and criticism of Meta’s privacy practices. Elon Musk also joined the conversation, highlighting the fact that the founders of WhatsApp had left Meta/Facebook due to discontent and played a significant role in building Signal, an alternative messaging platform. Musk raised doubts about Meta’s direction for WhatsApp since assuming control, suggesting that the founders’ insights into Facebook and the subsequent changes to WhatsApp had deeply unsettled them. Other individuals hinted at enduring conspiracy theories suggesting that Facebook engages in surveillance of its users.

WhatsApp’s Response

In response to the accusations, WhatsApp blamed a potential flaw in Google’s privacy dashboard software as the likely cause behind Dabiri’s problem. The company asserts that the log entries indicating microphone access are inaccurately attributed and has reached out to Google for assistance in uncovering the truth behind the situation. However, the incident has added to existing concerns over privacy violations by Meta and its subsidiary companies.

Tech Companies

The incident highlights the ongoing debate over data protection and privacy in the tech industry. Tech companies such as Meta, Google, and Apple have come under scrutiny for their handling of user data and privacy policies. The incident with WhatsApp adds to existing concerns about the company’s privacy practices and raises questions about whether tech companies can be trusted to protect user data.

Future of Privacy in the Tech Industry

As technology continues to evolve, privacy concerns will remain a critical issue for the industry. Governments around the world are introducing new regulations to protect user data and increase transparency around data collection and usage. However, it remains to be seen whether these measures will be sufficient to address the growing concerns around privacy violations in the tech industry.

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The incident with WhatsApp and its access to a user’s microphone without their knowledge or consent highlights the ongoing concerns around data protection and privacy in the tech industry. While WhatsApp has blamed a potential flaw in Google’s privacy dashboard software for the issue, the incident has added to existing concerns around privacy violations by Meta and its subsidiary companies. As technology continues to evolve, it is essential for the industry to address these concerns and take steps to protect user data and privacy.