Twitter user and engineer, Ford Dabiri, made startling allegations that WhatsApp secretly uses the microphone on devices, including a screenshot showing the timing of WhatsApp’s use of the mic. Dabiri alleged that WhatsApp uses the microphone in the background while they sleep, sharing a timeline of the app using their phone’s microphone between 4.20 am and 6.53 am. In response, Twitter CEO Elon Musk criticized WhatsApp, saying that the app could not be trusted.
WhatsApp has been using the microphone in the background, while I was asleep and since I woke up at 6AM (and that's just a part of the timeline!) What's going on? pic.twitter.com/pNIfe4VlHV
— Foad Dabiri (@foaddabiri) May 6, 2023
Following the allegations, WhatsApp intervened, claiming that it was a technical issue with Android OS. WhatsApp tweeted that it had communicated with the person who raised the complaint and that the information was wrongly displayed in the privacy dashboard. WhatsApp said that the Google engineer who raised the complaint was using a Google Pixel phone and that they have asked Google to investigate the incident.
Trust nothing, not even nothing
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2023
WhatsApp clarified that users have full control over microphone settings, and if WhatsApp has permission to use the mic, it is only used for voice recording and voice/video calls. WhatsApp is the world’s most used messaging app, offering mechanisms such as end-to-end encryption for the security of messages.