WhatsApp has stated that a bug on Android is causing false information to be displayed on a Pixel user’s privacy dashboard, wrongly indicating that the app is using the microphone in the background. The company believes that this issue is a result of misattributed information on Android’s Privacy Dashboard and has requested Google to investigate and address the problem. Pixel is a smartphone brand developed and produced by Google. WhatsApp made this statement in response to a tweet from a Twitter engineer who shared a screenshot showing microphone usage on his Pixel phone.
In a May 6 post, Foad Dabiri claimed that WhatsApp has been using the microphone in the background while they were asleep and after waking up at 6 am. Twitter CEO Elon Musk reposted the tweet on May 10, stating “WhatsApp cannot be trusted,” and the post has garnered over 54 million views. Responding to a user’s comment about WhatsApp being owned by Meta (formerly Facebook Inc), Musk claimed that WhatsApp founders left the company in disgust and initiated a #deleteFacebook campaign. Facebook Inc acquired WhatsApp in 2014.
WhatsApp clarified that users have full control over their microphone settings and that the app only accesses the microphone when a user is making a call or recording a voice note or video, with end-to-end encryption ensuring privacy. Website WABetaInfo addressed the microphone issue earlier, stating it was a ‘false positive’ caused by a bug. They recommended restarting the device to resolve the issue. WABetaInfo also mentioned that this issue is not new, as similar reports from users surfaced in 2020. They noted that other apps, such as Telegram, have experienced similar occurrences.