TechCrunch reports that Facebook wiped messages that CEO Mark Zuckerberg sent to former employees, as well as people outside the company, from those recipients’ inboxes.
The company cited ‘corporate security’ as its reasoning for the move, but it’s never publicly disclosed that it cleared Zuckerberg’s messages out of those conversations. In a statement which mentions the Sony Pictures hack that saw the film production company’s unreleased movies and confidential documents exposed, it explained:
After Sony Pictures’ emails were hacked in 2014 we made a number of changes to protect our executives’ communications. These included limiting the retention period for Mark’s messages in Messenger. We did so in full compliance with our legal obligations to preserve messages.
TechCrunch’s Josh Constine noted that Facebook’s terms of service don’t give it the right to remove content from users’ accounts unless it violates the company’s community standards. Meanwhile, the privilege of being able to delete your messages doesn’t extend to other users of the social network: even if you delete messages in your own inbox, they’ll still remain in the inboxes of the people you chatted with.
The news comes just a day after Facebook confirmed that it scanned users’ Messenger conversations in a bid to prevent the spread of misinformation and malicious content – which means that AI-powered systems analyze your messages, and when they’re flagged, they’re read by humans at Facebook.
It isn’t clear exactly what Facebook sought to achieve in wiping Zuckerberg’s messages, but it’s worrying to know that it can and will manipulate other users’ inboxes if it sees fit.
The beleaguered CEO has been addressing concerns about privacy on the social network since news of the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke in recent weeks – but it seems like we may not yet have heard about all of Facebook’s questionable actions, and Zuckerberg has an uphill task ahead of him in regaining people’s trust.
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