Looking back at this 2016 article from The Washington Post, one really shouldn’t blame them for their optimism regarding WhatsApp’s “end-to-end encrypted” capabilities. The encryption (e.g. security) behind WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is actually quite good at its core.
But what couldn’t have been so easily predicted by the Post is what I’ll call the “Facebook effect.” What I mean by that is any Facebook service has a single purpose: to collect information about you, whether personal information or generic metadata. It wants it all. It might be somewhat secure, but it certainly isn’t private.
‘The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us,’ WhatsApp co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton wrote in a blog post.”
In reality, WhatsApp might not officially be able to decrypt your messages or have a motive to target you personally—but I don’t trust that they wouldn’t. If hackers can compromise WhatsApp to access contacts, messages, and your smartphone camera, I’m pretty sure Facebook, WhatsApp, and pretty much any other major partner of theirs could do the same.