Meta, owner of social networks such as Instagram and Facebook, Data of users using applications on rival platforms was compromised and spied on. Information published on the website TechCrunchIt is based on documents that are part of a lawsuit filed against the company in the United States.

The filings, published this Tuesday (26), detail a company plan for 2016 that includes rivals such as Snapchat, YouTube and the Amazon website. The company wanted to understand how users interact with these apps, what appeals to this audience, and how Facebook could act to reduce the popularity of these competitors.

However, doing this was not an easy task. According to the documents, Facebook had to use a highly controversial tool to intercept and decrypt this data.

Ghostbusters Project

The situation most thoroughly described by the process is the so-called Ghostbusters ProjectBoth are named after the film series Ghost Hunters and in reference to the haunting that serves as Snapchat’s mascot.

The team’s idea was to find a way to analyze traffic data from a competing application that had encrypted communication between users and servers. At the time, Snapchat was still a strong competitor to Instagram, especially among younger audiences in the US and in the pre-TikTok era.

To get around this without users’ or Snapchat’s permission, Facebook used a service called Onavo. This VPN offered by the company at that time was also a tool that collected browsing data in bulk.

When enabled, Onavo “reads” a device’s traffic, regardless of whether it has encryption or not. Instead of allowing protection, the service collected this data and transmitted it for analysis by Facebook. The platform was deactivated in 2019 and was also used to monitor WhatsApp before it was acquired.

The purpose is to watch you

The Project Ghostbusters scandal is another involving Meta in a tumultuous decade for the company. Years later, the Cambridge Analytica scandal allowed data to be collected and commercialized for political purposes.

According to TechCrunch, The espionage project was not unanimously accepted within the company and several employees were against the action. But CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg was the one demanding solutions. “special technologies” to deal with rivals.

Mark Zuckerberg.

“Whenever someone asks about Snapchat, the answer is usually that we don’t have analytics on it because the traffic is encrypted. It seems important to find a way to have reliable data on these… You need to figure out how to do that.“, the manager said in a 2016 email.

to the website GizmodoIn his statement, Meta stated that the accusations in the first process were “baseless” and that the issue was not new, as reported at the time.

Source: Tec Mundo

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I am a passionate and hardworking journalist with an eye for detail. I specialize in the field of news reporting, and have been writing for Gadget Onus, a renowned online news site, since 2019. As the author of their Hot News section, I’m proud to be at the forefront of today’s headlines and current affairs.


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