“WhatsApp cannot be trusted.”
A Twitter engineer showed an image showing that the app has been utilizing the mic in the background while he was sleeping and since he woke up in the morning. The screenshot was taken from his phone’s Privacy Dashboard which tracks how often an app accesses a device’s mic and camera.
Elon Musk retweeted the tweet saying that WhatsApp cannot be trusted. He also tweeted “Trust nothing, not even nothing.”
Later on, Google and WhatsApp confirmed a bug making it appear that the app is using the phone’s mic unnecessarily on some devices running on Android.
The issue first appeared a month ago. However, it received new attention after an engineer tweeted about it. Then, it gathered more attention when Elon Musk retweeted it.
Musk is a fan of Signal. He uses the encrypted messaging app that once landed him in hot water when he was still legally fighting Twitter. At that time, Twitter’s lawyers claim that the Tesla CEO has been hiding messages that he sent through Signal.
More and more people are using platforms that allow them to send encrypted messages to ensure that the contents of a message are kept confidential. Encryption technology involves scrambling the message using a complex algorithm. The only way to decode it is if you have the correct decryption key.
People want to use this kind of feature because they want to protect their sensitive information from hackers and malicious actors who may steal the message. This could be financial data, personal information, or confidential business data.
WhatsApp stated that it was just a bug. It means that the app did not inappropriately access the mic. The company believes that it is just an Android issue. It also asked Google to investigate the matter.
As mentioned, the Twitter engineer was not the first to notice the issue. WhatsApp blog talked about a bug a month ago. At that time, the company described it as a false positive that affected owners of some Pixel and Samsung devices.
The company suggested restarting the phone. It might fix the issue.
Google, on the other hand, said little about the cause of the issue. However, it did confirm that it is looking into it.
WhatsApp has faced various privacy issues in the past, including sharing some user data with Meta.
Mark Zuckerberg owns WhatsApp.
Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are not particularly close friends. They have interacted in the past. But they had public disagreements and criticisms of each other’s companies and projects.
In 2016, for instance, Zuckerberg criticized Musk’s warnings about the potential dangers of AI calling his comments pretty irresponsible. Musk responded by calling Zuckerber’s understanding of AI limited and not very nuanced.
More recently, Musk has been critical of Facebook’s role in spreading misinformation and contributing to societal polarization, while Zuckerberg has defended the company’s practices and policies. However, despite their differences, they have both had a significant impact on the tech industry. They are considered among the most influential people in the world.