Facebook has admitted the company has been secretly deleting messages sent on Messenger by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “After Sony Pictures’ emails were hacked in 2014 we made a number of changes to protect our executives’ communications,” says a Facebook spokesperson in a statement to TechCrunch. “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.”
Old Facebook messages sent by Zuckerberg have simply vanished in some existing threads, and TechCrunch reports that affected messages no longer appear in Facebook’s download your information tool. Recent messages from Zuckerberg reportedly remain in some users’ inboxes, and the…
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…
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You can’t remove Facebook messages from the inboxes of people you sent them to, but Facebook did that for Mark Zuckerberg and other executives. Three sources confirm to TechCrunch that old Facebook messages they received from Zuckerberg have disappeared from their Facebook inboxes, while their own replies to him conspiculously remain. An email receipt of a Facebook message from 2010 reviewed by TechCrunch proves Zuckerberg sent people messages that no longer appear in their Facebook chat logs or in the files available from Facebook’s Download Your Information tool.
When asked by TechCrunch about the situation, Facebook claimed it was done for corporate security in this statement:
“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.”
However, Facebook never publicly disclosed the removal of messages from users’ inboxes, nor privately informed the recipients. That raises the question of whether this was a breach of user trust. When asked that question directly over Messenger, Zuckerberg declined to provide a statement.
Tampering With Users’ Inboxes
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch that users can only delete messages their own inboxes, and that they would still show up in the recipient’s thread. There appears to be no “retention period” for normal users’ messages, as my inbox shows messages from as early as 2005. That indicates Zuckerberg and other executives received special treatment in being able to pull back previously sent messages.
Facebook chats sent by Zuckerberg from several years ago or older were missing from the inboxes of both former employees and non-employees. What’s left makes it look the recipients were talking to themselves, as only their side of back-and-forth conversations with Zuckerberg still appear. Three sources asked to remain anonymous out of fear of angering Zuckerberg or burning bridges with the company.
[Update: Recent messages from Zuckerberg remain in users’ inboxes. Old messages from before 2014 still appear to some users, indicating the retraction did not apply to all chats the CEO sent. But more sources have come forward since publication, saying theirs disappeared as well.]
None of Facebook’s terms of service appear to give it the right to remove content from users’ accounts unless it violates the company’s community standards. While it’s somewhat standard for corporations to have data retention policies that see them delete emails or other messages from their own accounts that were sent by employees, they typically can’t remove the messages from the accounts of recipients outside the company. It’s rare that these companies own the communication channel itself and therefore host both sides of messages as Facebook does in this case, which potentially warrants a different course of action with more transparency than quietly retracting the messages.
Facebook’s power to tamper with users’ private message threads could alarm some. The issue is amplified by the fact that Facebook Messenger now has 1.3 billion users, making it one of the most popular communication utilities in the world.
Zuckerberg is known to have a team that helps him run his Facebook profile, with some special abilities for managing his 105 million followers and constant requests for his attention. For example, Zuckerberg’s profile doesn’t show a button to add him as a friend on desktop, and the button is grayed out and disabled on mobile. But the ability to change the messaging inboxes of other users is far more concerning.
Facebook may have sought to prevent leaks of sensitive corporate communications. Following the Sony hack, emails of Sony’s president Michael Lynton who sat on Snap Inc’s board were exposed, revealing secret acquisitions and strategy.
However, Facebook may have also looked to thwart the publication of potentially embarrassing personal messages sent by Zuckerberg or other executives. In 2010, Silicon Valley Insider published now-infamous instant messages from a 19-year-old Zuckerberg to a friend shortly after starting The Facebook in 2004. “yea so if you ever need info about anyone at harvard . . . just ask . . . i have over 4000 emails, pictures, addresses, sns” Zuckerberg wrote to a friend. “what!? how’d you manage that one?” they asked. “people just submitted it . . i don’t know why . . . they “trust me” . . . dumb fucks” Zuckerberg explained.
The New Yorker later confirmed the messages with Zuckerberg, who told the publication he “absolutely” regretted them. “If you’re going to go on to build a service that is influential and that a lot of people rely on, then you need to be mature, right? I think I’ve grown and learned a lot” said Zuckerberg.
If the goal of Facebook’s security team was to keep a hacker from accessing the accounts of executives and therefore all of their messages, they could have merely been deleted on their side the way any Facebook user is free to do, without them disappearing from the various recipients’ inboxes. If Facebook believed it needed to remove the messages entirely from its servers in case the company’s backend systems we breached, a disclosure of some kind seems reasonable.
Now as Facebook encounters increased scrutiny regarding how it treats users’ data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the retractions could become a bigger issue. Zuckerberg is slated to speak in front of the U.S. Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on April 10 as well as the House Energy and Commerce Committee on April 11. They could request more information about Facebook removing messages or other data from users’ accounts without their consent. While Facebook is trying to convey that it understands its responsibilities, the black mark left on public opinion by past behavior may prove permanent.
If you have more info on this situation, including evidence of messages from other Facebook executives disappearing, please contact this article’s author Josh Constine via open Twitter DMs, firstname.lastname@example.org, or encrypted Signal chat at (585)750-5674.
For more on Facebook’s recent troubles, read our feature pieces:
As part of an interview with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it was revealed that Facebook’s Messenger app scans and analyzes messages and photographs for what it deems concerning or unacceptable content.
[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]
If you’re looking for a list of Apple’s Business Chat partners, you’ve come to the right place.
One of the more interesting new features found in iOS 11.3 is Business Chat, which lets you securely communicate with businesses in Messages on your iPhone or iPad. You can get information, schedule appointments, or even make purchases with a text. At launch, Business Chat has support from a handful of partners, along with Apple itself.
What exactly is Business Chat?
If you’re looking for more information on Business Chat, check out this excellent overview by Jeffery Battersby about the system and it’s advantages and potential.
Business Chat partners
To start, Business Chat has a small group of partner businesses, though that’s sure to grow as the system becomes more popular. We’ll be updating this list over time with additional partners.
- Home Depot
- Marriot International
- TD Ameritrade
- Wells Fargo
Spot a new one?
Have you been able to use Business Chat with a business that isn’t on this list? Let us know in the comments.
Apple on Monday seeded the first iOS 11.4 beta to developers. And today the company has released the first public beta version of its upcoming iOS update, just a few days after officially rolling out iOS 11.3 to the general public. Unlike the newly released iOS 11.3, Apple’s next mobile update is much more incremental […]
HomePod stereo pairing and the underlying AirPlay 2 technology that powers it have now re-appeared in the developer betas of iOS 11.4 and tvOS 11.4 (that arrived earlier today) following their unexpected removal from the previous iOS 11.3 and tvOS 11.3 updates…. Read the rest of this post here
“iOS 11.4, tvOS 11.4 betas bring back AirPlay 2, Messages in iCloud & HomePod stereo pairing” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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The first developer beta of iOS 11.4 has been released, marking major feature additions like the arrival of AirPlay 2, Messages in iCloud and more. Check out the changes in our hands-on video.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News
Apple on Friday released macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 with support for external graphics processors, and support for Business Chat conversations in Messages as the two tentpole features. This release also contains a number of additional features, as well as bug fixes and stability improvements…. Read the rest of this post here
“Apple releases macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 with eGPUs support, Business Chat in Messages, and more [changelog]” is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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