Dark Side of the Unsend: the danger of new Apple iMessage features


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Apple announced a series of new features, enhancements and hardware at WWDC 2022 this week, making technicians around the world salivate.

However, its new messaging and undo function can have important implications far beyond the technological space.

Apple has proudly announced that it is publishing the three most common requests when it comes to iMessage: mark as unreadan annul option and edit function. And people are excited.

Unfortunately, I have concerns.

Messages, self-corrections, business and the dangers lurking in them

Lockheed Martin would probably be delighted at the thought of the edit button. It might save them $ 70 million 1999 when the company misplaced a comma, which forced them to take into account an inadvertently reduced price.

Taylor & Sons worked for 124 years when a press release was issued informing the public about the insolvency of Taylor & Son. The UK government was eventually found responsible and ordered to pay an estimated $ 17.2 million, but the damage had already been done.

In 2021, for example, Simon Silwood claimed this automatic correction changed “buffoon” to “baboon” when he was shut down for posting on Facebook.

These weren’t through messaging apps, but they could be.

Facebook and Instagram sparked a number of heated debates when they originally announced their editing functions. Recently, Twitter announced the long-awaited edit own feature to a crowd of fans and critics.

Would you use it for misleading purposes?

How misleading could you actually compare editing tweets with a simple delete and repost?

Would the fixes make it easier for those who shared the tweets to see the updates?

Will this increase or decrease the misinformation on the platform?

Some have suggested that Twitter could avoid many of these problems by allowing users to view the change and fix log, but this has its own set of problems. For example, users typically edit a tweet or message in order not to see the original version.

It would also open the door to “oopsy” defense – sending a hostile or false message, claiming it was a mistake, and fixing it. Although it may seem innocent, the damage may have already been done.

Think of some individuals tweeting about stocks and how this affects price, for example. Or change the last two letters to “kiss” in Ls and the meaning of the message changes to something very different.

Personally, I like the idea of ​​finally being able to avoid embarrassing work-related texts when using the word “rate,” but it’s not worth how much this feature could cost.

Because in some cases it can cost lives.

I used to be in an unhealthy home situation that caused a trip through the court system. Text messages have become crucial in presenting my case.

And here is the scariest part:

These text messages were the only real form of evidence I had. Without them, there would only be a lot of he-said-she-said, a few witnesses on both sides would testify that the other person was lying.

If I didn’t have months of accurate texting and emailing, I might not be here today.

The dark side of text messages

Messages and texts have played a key role in our daily lives for almost two decades. Sometimes with serious consequences.

In 2008, for example, Kwame Kilpatrick, the then mayor of Detroit, was found guilty wrong oath and violation of whistleblower laws. He was ordered to pay $ 6.5 million in damages.

In 2015, Inflategate became infamous almost instantly when it was discovered that Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were deliberately manipulated air pressure in soccer balls to give them an advantage in the AFC championship game.

Earlier this year, they became subject to former police officers who regularly worked with victims of domestic violence Investigation for sexual criminal offenses.

In each of these cases, investigations, allegations and convictions were triggered by text messages.

Someone will always find a way to abuse the system

In 2012, iMessage already had more than 140M users who send more than 1B messages per day. In Apple’s own words, “It’s an integral part of how we communicate with the people who matter most.”

We use it to discuss business, coordinate parenting activities, market a product, quarrel with intimate partners or a date, and even contact 9-1-1.

In this context, the thought of not sending the drunken messages you accidentally sent to your mom at 2am seems fantastic. What about other situations?

We know through heartbreaking confessions and court records that it is not uncommon for women to be stalked, threatened and harassed for months through Instagram oz text messages.

For better or worse, the police use them to catch bad guys. Divorce attorneys love also text messages. They even starred in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard movie Cover lately everyone is buzzing.

Apple has been thinking about this, at least to some extent. It can be seen that the message was edited with a small comment at the bottom. However, it is not clear whether you will be able to see how the messages are arranged.

The tech giant has also set a time limit for the feature so comments can only be edited in 15 minutes. However, this is enough time to send an evil or threatening message for the victim to read it and turn it into something stupid.

(Once you read them, it’s enough to keep them in your memory for a long time. Provided, of course, that the offender doesn’t follow threats that you can’t prove.)

Some may argue that you should simply take screenshots while reading messages, but here’s the thing:

Sometimes you don’t know how important a message is. And no one plans to be questioned, abused, or stalked by a business partner. It can be simple to be also pozen when you realize the meaning of something.

Even if you notice signs that problems may be on the horizon, it is human nature not to consider them and explain them.

As one expert said: “… when a woman feels that her relationship has gotten out of control, it probably won’t occur to her that her partner is a bully.”

The general public must also take care of editing, especially when it comes to social networks and mass texts.

In March 2022, for example, Snopes.com found one fraudster kidnapped account and edited 10 years of messages and posts to include links and ads for their scams to make the account look legitimate.

And because these accounts are people you know and trust, it gives legitimacy to fraudsters and fraudsters.

Other dangers in the palm of your hand

The dangers of technology went beyond just messaging.

Experts have warned the public stalking software long before Google removed seven of these apps from the Google Play Store 2019.

It is estimated that cyberbullying has also increased sharply 41% all adults in the U.S. were reported to have been victims at least once.

In 2019, for example, 75-year-old James Taylor shot and killed Catherine Taylor, 70, after finding her at her son’s home. Catherine escaped him after an incident of domestic violence and thought he was safe until Taylor tracked her down with the help of iCloud.

Apple has tried to solve this problem with today’s announcement of the possibility of emergency destruction that interrupts everything and prevents you from being tracked over the phone. At least the people associated with your accounts.

Why wasn’t this option immediately added with the original feature?

iOS is often chosen because there are more user friendly and highly rated by less technologically savvy crowd. So how many iPhone or iPad users know it’s there? Do they know how to use it?

For better or worse, text messages have changed human behavior

Text messages have been an important part of disease prevention, control and public health campaigns for more than a decade.

Healthcare providers of all types use text messaging to send test results, send reminders for appointments, check on individuals living with addictions, provide diets or smoking, and more.

Schools use text messages to reduce information gaps between teachers, institutions and parents.

Physically, smartphones have led to an increase in volume wounds with some studies estimating that as 82,38% residents have experienced discomfort due to long-term use of smartphones.

You may also have heard of Google effect. This means that we now forget information that can be easily found on Google or found on our mobile devices, including birthdays, facts and even directions. On the other hand, study equations find that simple texts can make you feel more self-confident in your performance.

How will all this change with the ability to cancel sending and editing already sent messages? Will we trust less? Will we move to other media? I don’t know, but I will definitely be more careful in the future.

Selected image: antoniodiaz / Shutterstock


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