Moderation also sucks if they aren't moderating what they claim to be moderating.
They publicly claim to be moderating, COVID misinformation, election misinformation, hate speech, etc. Privately (at least according to various whistleblowers) they are moderating to maximize engagement, and therefore profits.
It just so happens that; COVID misinformation, election misinformation, hate speech, etc. drive engagement.
The fact that the AI and algorithms misidentify engagement driving content isn't a bug, it's a feature.
Given Murdoch's history, don't be surprised if he calls for intermediary liability protect only for newsorganizations. A definition that miraculously only includes his properties and not those of any of those evil evil internet companies (he wishes he could be like).
Mike, while it's true that you can usually forward or at least screen shot messages on the destination device, how many people are aware of this?
You, me, probably lots of the folks who read this site, sure. Is little Jonny, Aunt Mable, Uncle Bob aware? Probably not.
A commenter (Jim Salter) of the Ars Technica article summed it up when he posted:
"You're absolutely correct—millions of teens every year have similar discoveries when they share "disappearing" videos on Snapchat."
Which is why I titled my original response; "Poorly setting up user expectations". I think this is especially important when you are talking about the capabilities of a security application.
ProPublica's article may come across a little reactionary to folks like you and me, but if it helps raise awareness about the ways that WhatsApp (or any other application) isn't secure, that can only be seen as a good thing. Excepting law enforcement and Facebook shareholders of course.
Perhaps the issue is one of not setting user expectations correctly. If you laud the fact that no one can read the contents of these messages, but forget to mention that we've set up an easy to use system to forward unencrypted copies of those self same messages to Facebook (not a company exactly known for respecting people's privacy) you can see how that might freak out some people.
Ars Technica has an article covering the same subject. The interesting part in their reporting was how groups were abusing the system to get the AI to ban groups left and right.
More troubling, in my opinion, is speculation that What's App may have the undisclosed ability to scan decrypted messages and automatically flag them for FaceBook review.
The most troubling is the unencrypted metadata that Facebook appears to be storing and forwarding/reporting as it sees fit. From the above mentioned Ars Technica article:
"Although WhatsApp's "end-to-end" encryption of message contents can only be subverted by the sender or recipient devices themselves, a wealth of metadata associated with those messages is visible to Facebook—and to law enforcement authorities or others that Facebook decides to share it with—with no such caveat."
It appears that WhatsApp is a lot less secure than some competitors, such as Signal, and a lot less secure than Facebook likes to admit or users are lead to believe.
The biggest problem (as I see it) with the facilities based approach, is that broadband, like water or power, is a natural monopoly. It is financially unfeasible to have multiple physical broadband providers wiring fiber to everyone's home. Historically, we had cable and phone as separate networks simply because neither could provide what the other could. Now that we can have phone over cable and video over phone, it no longer makes much sense to continue to rollout both types of infrastructure.
Rolling out fiber makes that even clearer. Unless regulated, the first one to roll out fiber to the home wins (assuming they don't price it out of range of most people). Phone companies chose to let their POTS assets rot on the vine as they pivoted to more lucrative wireless (and pipe dreams of digital ad revenue). This left cable companies in a monopoly position with no real incentive to upgrade their now good enough (in their eyes) coaxial infrastructure.
Service based competition, or strict government regulation (think PUC) is the only logical way forward. Of course as long as our government is more interested in cashing company campaign checks than serving their constituents, municipal broadband is the next best thing we can hope for.
It seems the comments are thick with Musk fans. I am going to go out on a very thick branch here and predict that this will go the way of every other pronouncement Elon Musk has made. Over-hyped, under performed and massively scaled back, if fully deployed at all.
Just look at his projects so far:
hyperloop, a.k.a hover train in a tunnel
100+ year old design
morphed to low vacuum
then from hovering to wheels
then open sourced his idea (how generous) for others to build
boring tunnel Las Vegas loop
fully autonomous pods, actually requires drivers
speeds up to (I guess he was working at his ISP creds already) 130 mph. Completed and announced with a speed of 30mph.
advanced operation consists of; getting in the car and telling the driver where you want to go (hmmm, why didn't a taxi, uber, lyft, ever think of that? I guess they aren't the genius that Elon Musk is)
Tesla fully autonomous vehicles.
keeps crashing into stationary objects
can't even get to work in the closed loop system of the Las Vegas tunnel.
Hello, what do you think the space shuttle was?
NASA successfully carried people and cargo
Elon is still only carrying small amounts of cargo
Revolutionary battery design
1.5x the capacity, (for only 1.5x the size :D )
If history is any indicator, his current satellite broadband system will be massively over budget, under performing, and scaled back to something fairly ordinary. Unfortunately, he's already busy polluting low earth orbit (making a mess of astronomy) and got his snout at the public trough, asking for funding to bring broadband to under served areas like pentagon parking lots.
Good points Mike. While we shouldn't let the overreacting whitewash the actions of those who truly should be called to task, we should also be careful not to pile on calls for ostracism, until we have taken the time to review for ourselves just what the issue is.
As you have written, things most often call for nuance. We wouldn't want to lend credence to those who want to conflate responsibility with ideological conformity enforcement.
It just goes to show that unfortunately, the type of people most drawn to serving in law enforcement appear to be those with an over-sized sense of self worth and a desire to bully those around them. Give them the ability to wield deadly weapons and little to no accountability and this is what we get.
It appears that the system won't be fixed until it is rethought from the types of people allowed to serve all the way up to the systems built around them.