Facebook scans the contents of messages you send on the Messenger app, it has been revealed.
The scandal hit firm checks images, links and texts in private messages to ensure they are in line with its community standards.
The policy of scanning user’s messages was confirmed by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a podcast interview he gave to Vox.
During the interview, Zuckerberg recalled how he had received a call from a staff member at Facebook to inform him that their systems had blocked attempts to send messages about ethnic cleansing in Myanmar using Messenger.
“In that case, our systems detect what’s going on. We stop those messages from going through,” Zuckerberg revealed.
Despite the good intentions, the fact that it was previously unknown that Facebook is scanning user’s messages, has raised concerns among people posting on social media, where many are still annoyed at recent revelations regarding the user data and privacy.
However, Facebook told Bloomberg that the Messenger scans are only using the same tools that is uses site wide to prevent hate speech, abuse and to ensure that users abide by its ‘community standards’.
Facebook said the purpose of the scans was not so it could more carefully target advertisements at users.
Although some users still aren’t convinced.
One user on Twitter, Kevin Chastain, wrote: “So I was messaging my wife about dinner tonight mentioned a particular place on Facebook messenger and then opened up Facebook about to see an ad for that restaurant.
“Tell me they aren’t in on every convo I have. Scary!”
In a statement a spokesperson for Facebook said:
“For example, 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 behaviour on our platform.”
The news comes after it was revealed that Facebook has been recording call and text history from Android users, often without their knowledge.