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Is it time to leave Messenger too? Forbes says it’s more troubling than WhatsApp

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The recent controversy surrounding the new privacy policy of the WhatsApp messaging service caused many users to switch to other similar apps. However, Facebook Messenger’s data collection is significantly more alarming than WhatsApp’s, Forbes warns.

“WhatsApp looked bad when compared to Signal and Telegram, but it looked truly angelic compared to Messenger,” writes Zak Doffman, cybersecurity specialist and author of the article.

According to the journalist, the failure of WhatsApp has distracted attention from how serious Messenger’s invasion of the privacy of its users is.

In response to attacks by users and media, WhatsApp assured that it cannot see private messages nor can Facebook.

“However, there is no such luck, if you are a Messenger user,” says Doffman. 

Facebook admits that it monitors the content sent in private messages between users, the author notes. And Facebook definitely shares all of its metadata with itself, he adds.

“We all know that Facebook lives off our data, that’s how we pay for their ‘free’ services.”

To illustrate “Facebook Messenger’s scant” for privacy, the journalist recalled that researchers Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakr revealed that the app was downloading private attachments sent between users to its own servers, as well as links to shared files and websites. 

Meanwhile, the problem of Messenger access to private information would be easily solved: with end-to-end encryption.

Messenger users can have this level of security only in “secret conversations”. And unlike WhatsApp, this type of encryption can only be applied between two people, and is impossible in group conversations. It is also not enabled by default. Only when selected, Facebook stops following messages and downloading links and files, explains the journalist.

At the same time, Doffman cautioned that using direct messages from Instagram, which also belongs to Facebook, is even less secure. 

Facebook, meanwhile, has long expressed its intention to ensure end-to-end encryption for Messenger but has yet to do so.

According to the author, if this encryption was applied, Facebook would risk disagreeing with lawmakers and would also appear to be a defensive move against antitrust lawsuits in the United States that specifically target Facebook’s takeovers of Instagram and WhatsApp.

“If you’re still on Messenger or if you’re using Instagram direct messages for anything other than the companies you’re buying from or casual contacts, then it’s time to switch.” 

According to Doffman, using WhatsApp and some other messaging service in parallel would be quite safe.

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