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Advertising in WhatsApp: AI to analyze encrypted messages?

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Facebook is currently looking for developers to possibly research advertising in WhatsApp. Specifically, this involves personalized ads based on the content of messages. In order to also gather information from encrypted messages, Facebook wants to use Artificial Intelligence (AI).

  • Facebook is looking for developers to analyze encrypted messages via AI.
  • In the process, the company wants to use homomorphic encryption.
  • WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart already denied the allegations on Twitter.

Despite recurring speculations, the messenger WhatsApp has been ad-free till date. Now, new rumors about ads are circulating that carry a little more weight. That's because, as reported by The Information, Facebook could show personalized ads despite active encryption.

End-to-end encryption has so far prevented Facebook from analyzing user content for advertising purposes. This will remain the case for the time being, as the encryption means that only you and your chat partners will be able to see the content.

However, according to media reports, The Information claims that Facebook is looking for researchers who are able to analyze the content despite the encryption.

Cathcart contradicts the report on Twitter

To achieve this, Facebook is specifically looking for analysts in the field of Artificial Intelligence. And quite fundamentally, reading data from encrypted systems is not a new topic in IT. According to Forbes, the so-called homomorphic encryption is even expected to increase privacy when analyzing data.

Will Cathcart Twitter
Cathcart already denied the accusations on Twitter / © Twitter / Will Cathcart

The fact that WhatsApp wants to analyze user data for advertising purposes will still piss off most users. WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart is aware of this, and has already denied the allegations on Twitter. Cathcart denies that WhatsApp is working on homomorphic encryption and at the same time links to a past interview with The Information, in which he already claimed the same.

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Benjamin Lucks

Benjamin Lucks
Head of Editorial DE

Ben has been working in tech journalism since 2018, was a freelancer in the middle of the CoVid-crisis and has been full-time at NextPit since November '20. Since then he has tries to find the right mix between professional competence, humor and fresh perspectives in reviews and texts.

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