Adding to the most prevalent end-to-end encryption information, a misleading report from the nonprofit ProPublica newsroom questioned the end-to-end integrity of WhatsApp. While metadata collection is a concern about WhatsApp, the report claimed that WhatsApp reads messages with its ‘extensive monitoring operation’.
WhatsApp Reporting Feature Does Not Break End-To-End Encryption
Like all other social platforms, WhatsApp has a content moderation team to review user reports. Whenever a user reports a chat, the last 5 messages are sent to WhatsApp for moderation. In fact, this is clearly stated in the report pop-up, as you can see in the image below:
Responding to the report, a WhatsApp spokesperson said: “WhatsApp provides a way for people to report spam or abuse, including sharing the latest messages in a conversation. This feature is important to prevent the worst abuse of the internet. We strongly disagree with the notion that accepting reports that a user chooses to send us is incompatible with end-to-end encryption. “
Soon after the WhatsApp statement, ProPublica updated the post to clarify the original report. “An earlier version of this story has unintentionally confused the extent to which WhatsApp scans its users’ messages and whether it breaches the encryption that keeps the exchanges secret. We changed the language in the story to make it clear that the company only examines messages from threads that users have reported as potentially offensive. It does not break end-to-end encryption, ” the update reads.
Encryption would not break end to end to report a message since the purpose of a reporting feature is to avoid negative interactions in the platform. You can learn more about WhatsApp security model in our detailed comparison of WhatsApp vs Telegram vs Signal.