WhatsApp Cannot Be Trusted: Elon Musk

A former Google engineer and the Director of Engineering at Twitter’s Growth team recently discovered a privacy problem with WhatsApp on his Pixel 7 Pro handset. According to Google’s privacy dashboard, the app accessed his phone’s microphone nine times in total, with no user engagement.

Over the weekend, engineer Foad Dabiri turned to Twitter to share his experience. He shared a screenshot of WhatsApp intermittently accessing his microphone in the early morning hours.

Given Meta’s track record when it comes to privacy problems, the matter predictably prompted anger from a large number of internet users.

The Twitter army quickly organized, with Elon Musk, the platform’s owner, entering the debate. The CEO of Twitter did not hold back in his criticism of Meta’s privacy standards, even going so far as to say that WhatsApp cannot be trusted.

In response to a user’s tweet expressing amazement about Meta’s ownership of WhatsApp, Musk joined the conversation. He emphasized that the WhatsApp founders quit Meta/Facebook due to dissatisfaction, launched the #deletefacebook movement, and were instrumental in the development of Signal, an alternative messaging network.

Musk has also expressed reservations about Meta’s vision for WhatsApp since taking over, implying that the founders’ insights into Facebook and consequent modifications to WhatsApp have severely unnerved them. Musk and others referred to long-standing conspiracy theories claiming that Facebook monitors its users.

WhatsApp, on the other hand, blamed Dabiri’s problem on a suspected weakness in Google’s privacy dashboard software. WhatsApp claims that the log entries suggesting microphone access are incorrectly attributed and has requested assistance from Google in determining the truth of the matter.

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