Facebook Won't Be Able To Solve Its Privacy Problems By Cloning Whatsapp's Encryption System

Last week, Facebook announced to move the working model of their messaging platforms from open networks to more private and encrypted ones. This decision has been made to minimize the effect of privacy scandals, in which third party apps were given access to information of Facebook users for various financial and political gains.

Mark Zuckerberg and his team now wants to gain back the trust. In order to do so, Facebook won’t be able to read your private messages soon and the data won’t also stay on company’s server for longer than necessary. He plans to achieve the vision of more private and ephemeral communication by merging Facebook and company’s other digital platforms into one super app. But with all the challenges involved, will this move really make things better for Facebook?

Of course, Facebook was the one which introduced fully end-to-end encrypted messaging on Whatsapp in 2016, right after they acquired the company. With this they also gained confidence of users from many countries around the world. It played its role in making Whatsapp the top preferred messaging app over the years.

However, now when Facebook is going for the same strategy again after 5 years, there are strong reasons of why it won’t solve Facebook’s problems.

Encryption Is Just An Illusion

Although encryption means that no one except for the sender and receiver can read the messages, yet it alone won't make WhatsApp completely secure as some third parties would still be able to dive into your chat histories.

A detailed explanation of the process revealed that in the end chat history backups are stored to the cloud as unencrypted and along with that WhatsApp web interface can also be easily hacked. Moreover, WhatsApp (probably) can also have access to the chat history with the help of operating systems on smartphones. The daily data that we store in our phone are always in the decrypted format and is only protected by standard iOS data protection.

Metadata Means A Digital Trail, Always!

While Zuckerberg is claiming that Facebook won’t store data for long on its servers, he still hesitated to accept the major part of the problem (which was never the content of messages). By doing so, Facebook will still be able to give users’ contacts information and details about messages, such as the time they are sent and the identities and locations of senders and receivers, which are primarily used for targeted advertising.

Some researches have also proved that Facebook can keep the track of forwarded media files reported as problematic, and even holds the potential to identify the source without breaking encryption.

Can cloning WhatsApp save Facebook’s sinking ship?

Facebook Can’t Moderate Encrypted Messages

The end-to-end encryption resulted into WhatsApp becoming a safe haven for circulation of fake news. Keeping the challenge in mind, Zuckerberg also addressed his concerns about how encryption turns out as a perfect opportunity for bad actors to spoil the platform with things like child exploitation, terrorism and extortion.

Later, Whatsapp also limited the number of times a message could be forwarded but that just never worked well.

So following the similar pattern would mean that Facebook, in future, won’t involve itself in moderating the content which again can serve as a backfire to the company.

There are still a lot of factors that Facebook needs to address and figure out before implementing any strategy for more privacy. For now these concerns hold a significant value for the social media users.
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