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WhatsApp End-to-end Encryption May Weaken on Integration with Facebook

The New York Times reported on Friday that Facebook has planned to integrate chats within WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram

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"WhatsApp Business" was launched last week in Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Britain and the US. Pixabay

WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption — the hallmark of users’ security — may go for a toss if Facebook integrates the popular mobile messaging platform with not-that-secure Instagram and Messenger.

According to a report in The Wired on Saturday, to universally preserve end-to-end encryption poses a whole additional set of critical challenges for Facebook.

WhatsApp chats are currently end-to-end encrypted by default. Facebook Messenger offers the feature if you turn on “Secret Conversations.”

“Instagram does not currently offer any form of end-to-end encryption for its chats,” the report said.

“The big problem I see is that only WhatsApp has default end-to-end encryption. So if the goal is to allow cross-app traffic, and it’s not required to be encrypted, then what happens? There are a whole range of outcomes here,” Matthew Green, a cryptographer at the Johns Hopkins University, was quoted as saying.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum quit Facebook over difference of opinion with CEO Mark Zuckerberg when it comes to data privacy and encryption.

Koum announced his exit “after clashing with its parent, Facebook, over the popular messaging service’s strategy and Facebook’s attempts to use its personal data and weaken its encryption”.

Brian Acton started WhatsApp with Koum. Facebook acquired the messaging service ago for $19 billion in 2014. Acton quit Facebook in 2017 and Koum left the company last April.

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The New York Times reported on Friday that Facebook has planned to integrate chats within WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram.

“Facebook is still in the early planning stages of homogenizing its messaging platforms, a move that could increase the ease and number of secured chats online by a staggering order of magnitude,” said The Wired report. (IANS)

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Local News Dry up for Facebook Media Project in US

In January this year, the Facebook Journalism Project announced to invest $300 million in local newsrooms

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A photo shows the Facebook app icon on an iPhone in New York, Feb. 19, 2014. VOA

Facebook is having trouble finding enough local news to feed its new journalism initiative, because hundreds of newspapers have shut down in the US.

“About one in three users in the US live in places where we cannot find enough local news on Facebook to launch ‘Today In’,” Facebook wrote in a blog post on Monday.

In those “news deserts” – communities with little or no local reporting – Facebook hasn’t been able to find “five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns” for its news feature “Today In” that was launched in November last year.

“In the last 28 days, there has not been a single day where we’ve been able to find five or more recent news articles directly related to these towns.

“This does not vary much by region: 35 per cent of users in the Midwest, Northeast, and South — and 26 per cent in the West a” live in places where we can’t find much local newson Facebook,” said the social networking company.

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This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

“Today In” has been rolled out to over 400 cities in the US.

“We’re also announcing a new pilot programme, the Facebook Journalism Project Community Network, to support projects aimed at building community through local news,” said Facebook.

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According to Engadget, nearly 1,800 papers have shut down in the US since around the time Facebook came online 15 years ago.

In January this year, the Facebook Journalism Project announced to invest $300 million in local newsrooms. (IANS)