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WhatsApp CEO Clashes with Elon Musk Over Data Export Claims

WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart refutes Elon Musk's claim that the messaging software exports user data. WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted for privacy. Yann LeCun, Meta's AI leader, joins the argument, denouncing Musk's assertions and accusing him of propagating conspiracy theories.

Taking to X, Cathcart called Musk's statements "simply not correct." He stressed that WhatsApp conversations are end-to-end encrypted, so the firm cannot access or read them.

Yann LeCun, the artificial intelligence leader at Meta, WhatsApp's parent company, has joined the debate, supporting Cathcart's viewpoint. LeCun used stronger language in his X post, slamming Musk for making conflicting and unrealistic statements about artificial intelligence and accused him of pushing conspiracy theories on his own social networking platform.

This is not the first time Musk has been caught in an online debate; he has previously had public spats with submariners and former workers. However, in this instance, Cathcart's assertion that only the sender and recipient can access WhatsApp messages holds true.

WhatsApp's commitment to message encryption is so unwavering that the company has stated it would rather be blocked in the UK than compromise the encryption it employs.

While Musk's ambiguous language about "user data" being uploaded may be construed as referring to metadata, which is delivered alongside the actual message, security researcher Tommy Mysk noted on X that WhatsApp conversations are end-to-end encrypted. However, user data refers to more than just communications. It comprises metadata such as the user's location, communication contacts, and online activity habits.

It's worth mentioning that WhatsApp shares some metadata with other Meta-owned platforms, but not message content. Dr. Tristan Henderson, a computer science lecturer at the University of St Andrews, raised worry about WhatsApp exchanging data with other Meta firms because this metadata allows for personalised adverts and suggestions, emphasising the revealing nature of metadata.

The WhatsApp Privacy Policy specifically mentions that the firm may utilise specific user data to present relevant offers and adverts across Meta firm Products.

  • WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart denies Elon Musk's claim that the messaging app exports user data.

  • WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted, ensuring privacy.

  • Yann LeCun, AI chief at Meta, joins the debate, criticising Musk's claims and accusing him of spreading conspiracy theories.

Source: BBC

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