grapples with a booming digital market and increasing data security concerns, messaging app WhatsApp
wants to ensure bare minimum access to user data to prevent misuse. The messaging app, like its parent company Facebook, has been accused of misusing as well as allowing fake news
messages to proliferate unchecked data globally.
"The traditional way to filter spam
messages would be to check the messages on the server (for keywords) but since the data is encrypted, we cannot see the messages. That said, we have a dedicated spam
team to help identify such accounts (that send bulk messages)," said Alan Kao, Software Engineer at WhatsApp.
He mentioned methods like identifying accounts that sent bulk messages to numbers outside of their phonebook or suspending accounts that many users have reported as spam.
Kao reiterated that once a message is read by a recipient (identified by two blue ticks), the messages are wiped out of WhatsApp
servers as WhatsApp
does not store data on cloud servers. Therefore, the possibility of data compromise is also reduced, he added. "We want to collect minimum data from users. Our goal here is to provide a secure messaging service and not use the data for other purposes," he added
follows a complex end-to-end encryption policy that prevents even their own servers from storing messages in plain readable format. The message encryption mechanism is stored on the user's device and not on WhatsApp
servers, thus allowing decryption only at the receiver's end.
"We encourage people to report (problematic) content so we can take action. Facebook
is helping educate people on how they can take action," said Carl Woog, WhatsApp
spokesperson on concerns following government's recent appeal to social media outlets to help control sharing of harmful online content like the Blue Whale challenge.
has more than 200 million users in India
alone and has been under pressure from Indian and Chinese governments to allow access to user messages for security purposes. The company maintains that they will at no point allow governments to access their encryption policy or provide an entry point to access user data. WhatsApp
services were blocked for the second time in a month, in China, last week as the Chinese authorities continued their tussle on data sharing. The Indian government has been tracking WhatsApp's data sharing policy with Facebook
declined to comment on their plans to launch a lighter version of their app for Reliance's JioPhone that is set to hit the market next month. The company has noticed widespread use of the app for B2B and B2C transactions apart from government led initiatives for curbing crime.
services over 1.3 billion customers globally through a motley team of 200 based out of their California facility.