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WhatsApp Boss Refutes Elon Musk’s Claims of Nightly Data Export

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Elon Musk

(CTN News) – In a recent online exchange, WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart has refuted claims made by Elon Musk that the messaging app “exports your user data every night.” Taking to the social media platform X, Mr. Cathcart categorically stated that the allegation was “not correct.”

Cathcart emphasized that WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted, meaning the company cannot access the contents of these messages.

This encryption protocol ensures that only the sender and recipient can read the messages, a security measure that WhatsApp has consistently highlighted.

The platform’s commitment to encryption is so stringent that it has previously stated it would rather face a ban in the UK than compromise on its encryption standards.

Adding to the rebuttal, Yann LeCun, the artificial intelligence chief at WhatsApp’s parent company Meta, also took to X with more vehement language to criticize Musk’s claims.

LeCun accused Musk of making contradictory and unrealistic statements about artificial intelligence and of spreading conspiracy theories on his own social media platform.

Elon Musk’s Vague Claims and the Metadata Debate

Musk, known for his online altercations with a variety of individuals from submariners to former employees, had used vague terminology by suggesting that “user data” was being uploaded.

This ambiguity left room for interpretation, with some suggesting he could be referring to metadata—the ancillary data transmitted alongside the actual messages.

“WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted, but user data is not only about messages,” explained security researcher Tommy Mysk in a post on X.

“That also includes metadata such as user location, which contacts the user is communicating with, the patterns of when the user is online, etc.”

WhatsApp Privacy Policy

It is acknowledged that while WhatsApp shares some metadata with other Meta platforms, this does not include the contents of messages. Dr. Tristan Henderson, a computer science lecturer at the University of St Andrews, noted, “One area of particular concern has been WhatsApp sharing data with other Meta companies.

This does include sufficient metadata for these Meta companies to make suggestions and show personalized adverts, which in itself shows what metadata can reveal.”

According to the WhatsApp Privacy Policy, the company does utilize some user data to “show relevant offers and ads across the Meta Company Products.”

This practice has drawn scrutiny and concern over privacy implications, but it remains distinct from accessing the actual message content.

READ ALSO: Elon Musk’s xAI Raises $6 Billion, Boosting Valuation to $24 Billion

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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