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This article was published on August 4, 2021

Facebook reportedly wants to securely mine your encrypted data to target ads

Key to earn money on WhatsApp

Facebook reportedly wants to securely mine your encrypted data to target ads
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

There’s no secret that Facebook loves ads. It has stuffed the blue app and different features of Instagram with them. And the company has contemplatedmany times inserting ads in WhatsApp.

Now the company is trying to make a match of an odd pair: encryption and ads. According to a report from The Information, the tech giant is building a team of AI researchers to explore possibilities to analyze data without breaking encryption.

This will allow Facebook to insert targeted ads on WhatsApp, and let me highlight here that end-to-end encryption is one of the app’s most marketed features. And that’s the basis of Facebook’s fight against traceabilityworldwide.

But the company also wants to make money out of WhatsApp. It made a controversial privacy policy change earlier this year to lay the WhatsApp interaction with businesses and other Facebook apps. However, if it can make solve the puzzle of inserting ads without breaking encryption, it can earn a lot of money from more than 2 billion folks who use the app for free.

The field of research is called Homomorphic Encryption, which allows you to extract meaningful information without breaking encryption. Companies like IBM and Google are already working on it and exploring its usage in sectors such as health and finance.

As per the Information’s report, there’s no timeline on when Facebook wants to achieve this. But Zuck & co. would want to get this out of the gates as soon as possible to start minting money.

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