Meta's Mixed Message

Meta is running a billboard ad that pitches its WhatsApp as the superior privacy option over Apple’s iMessage app.  iMessage has encrypted end-to-end messaging, but it may store backups of messages on its servers that are not encrypted and therefore obtainable.

Zuckerberg noted in an Instagram post that WhatsApp introduced encrypted backups last year, and also highlighted a feature that allows WhatsApp users to set new messages to automatically delete.

Tracking in the VR world.  In a related story, Meta seems to be taking an entirely different stance on privacy with its recently launched Quest Pro VR headset.

The headset has five inward-facing cameras that watch a person’s face to track eye movements and facial expressions, ostensibly to let your avatar reflect expressions like smiling, winking, or raising an eyebrow in real time.

A Meta product manager said that the raw images and pictures used to power these features are stored locally on the headset and deleted after processing.  But, according to Meta’s own eye-tracking and facial-expression privacy notices, it appears that insights obtained from those images may be processed and stored on Meta servers.  Such granular data could be used to figure out a person’s interests or reactions to content.

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