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Elon Musk claims WhatsApp exports user data

Elon Musk claims WhatsApp exports user data

WhatsApp Exports

WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart has denied claims made by Elon Musk that the messaging app “exports your user data every night.” In a post on X, Mr. Cathcart said the allegation was “not correct” and stressed that WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted, meaning they cannot be read by the company. Meta’s artificial intelligence chief Yann LeCun also weighed in on Mr. Musk’s claims, using strong language to criticize Musk on X. On another Meta platform, Threads, Mr. LeCun accused Musk of making contradictory and unrealistic claims about artificial intelligence and “spewing conspiracy theories.”

Mr. Musk is no stranger to online disputes.

Musk and WhatsApp data dispute

In this case, Mr. Cathcart emphasized that only the sender and recipient of a WhatsApp message can read its contents. WhatsApp has a strong commitment to encrypting messages and has previously said it would rather pull out of countries that would force it to weaken its encryption.
Mr. Musk’s comments could be interpreted as referring to metadata, which includes information such as user location, communication patterns, and online activity times. WhatsApp is known to share some metadata with other Meta-owned platforms, but this does not include the actual messages. “One area of particular concern has been WhatsApp sharing data with other Meta companies,” said Dr. Tristan Henderson, a lecturer in computer science at the University of St. Andrews. “This includes sufficient metadata for these Meta companies to make suggestions and show personalized adverts, demonstrating what metadata can reveal.”

WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy states that some user data will be used for “showing relevant offers and ads across the Meta Company Products.” Meta has been approached for a comment on the issue.

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