WhatsApp Forces Users to Share Personal Data with Facebook

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WhatsApp has been one of the principal places to message, family and friends across the globe.

It enjoys more popularity outside the United States, with over 2 billion users worldwide, mostly in Latin America, India, Europe and many African nations. Recently, people have been fleeing from the service after it was announced that a new update will be making the messaging app share data with Facebook.

WhatsApp Forces Users to Share Personal Data with Facebook

If users, don’t accept the new terms of the update, they’ll no longer be able to use the app. So is it time for WhatsApp users to run for the hills? Is it all over? Lets. Try and take a balanced look at this.

In 2014 WhatsApp was bought by Facebook. Facebook has bought the mobile messaging service WhatsApp for 19 billion dollars in cash in stock. At the time, 8 million users fled to the rival app telegram, and the buyout was called quote a 911 for the internet by TechCrunch.

Despite Facebook’s, ownership WhatsApp was still seen as a privacy focused service. Since 2014, its developers built state-of-the-art, end-to-end encryption into the app they made use of an open source protocol that could be independently verified with this latest privacy update user data can be shared with Facebook and any of its other companies it owns.

So what’s happening? Those who don’t accept the revamp privacy policy by February 8 will no longer be able to use the app. So what data is being shared with Facebook and Instagram? The shared data is quote profile, name, profile, picture, IP address, battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network connection, information, phone number, mobile operator, ISP language time, zone, device operations; information, including identifiers, unique to Facebook, company products associated with the same device or account end quote according to WhatsApp, the purpose of this is to quote offer integrations across Facebook company products, which also includes Instagram and messenger, in other words, to target adverts to you.

Share Personal Data with Facebook

For example, when you share a link of a product like a new phone, you’re interested in or a smart speaker to a friend or family member in a WhatsApp message. WhatsApp can share their info to other Facebook companies to display targeted ads to you on Instagram or Facebook.

 

The policy also notes that, even after deleting the app some data will remain with the company. The new policy is so aggressive that it doesn’t apply in the EU because it violates GDPR laws. It’s, interesting to note that in 2019 on their company website, WhatsApp stated that privacy was in their DNA, but in 2020 this statement was removed.

To many users, it seems like WhatsApp is no longer a privacy focused product,  signal and telegram messaging apps are now seeing a sudden increase in demand. After the news broke on social media signals, popularity shot up even further after it was endorsed by Elon Musk.

More than a hundred thousand users installed the signal on apple’s, app store and the Google Play Store, and in just two days following the news telegram picked up. 2.2 million downloads. New installations for WhatsApp fell 11 in the first seven days of 2021 compared with the prior week, but it should be noted that a singular data point isn’t a trend while some media outlets are claiming that the sky is falling.

Telegram

WhatsApp has actually been sharing user information and metadata with Facebook since 2016. In fact, the European commission would find the Facebook for being misleading during its 2014 takeover of WhatsApp.

Facebook at the time said that it quote would be technically impossible to automatically combine user information from Facebook and WhatsApp end quote, but in 2016 they did just that Facebook’s. The Explanation for the misleading statements in their filing was simply that it was a quote.

 

Not intentional, in addition, the Facebook also promised to keep WhatsApp as a standalone product, but this promise too was broken back in 2016. They offered existing users 30 days to opt out of the data sharing with Facebook.

If you chose to opt out at that time, WhatsApp would continue to honour that choice. This opt-out feature has been long gone and all new users after this time automatically had their data shared with Facebook, but according to wired, the most recent privacy policy changes do not actually impact WhatsApp’s, existing practices or behaviour.

Around data sharing with Facebook, the policy update was simply a clarification on how user data was shared, so the buzz on the internet is mostly an overreaction, since this has been going on since 2016.

But that being said, the amount of data WhatsApp can collect and share about you and the fact that it’s been consistently sharing. This with Facebook is still concerning people aren’t willing to pay for all content on the internet and the way that they can pay for it without paying for it with cash, is by looking at ads or being subjected to ads.

Isn’t everybody better off if the ads are targeted to the interests of the individual. That’s, the kind of talking point, that is a common refrain. Somebody has to pay for uh for content to be produced, entertainment or information online.

At the same time, we have to think really carefully about what it is that we’re, giving up when we’re surrendering our privacy. Anyone who has the technical capacity to can track whatever you do on the internet, combine that with any other data sources that they can acquire about you from credit card companies, cell phone provider anywhere else, and just say that you can do whatever you want within that.

With that data, as long as you can make it happen, it’s. A digital infrastructure that makes targeted advertising possible that the same infrastructure can be used just as easily to sell sneakers, as you say, as it can to propagate disinformation.

Whatsapp

Uh, it can be spreading, lies about uh, entire ethnic groups and encouraging people to harm them, and that’s, something that’s been good going on in Myanmar, notably via Facebook. The merger of Facebook and WhatsApp was controversial within the WhatsApp company, and it may have contributed to the departure of both WhatsApp’s co-founders in late 2017 and 2018 respectively, one of whom went on to work on signal, though the new WhatsApp privacy policy Doesn’t change, WhatsApp’s behaviour since 2016.

It can be a reminder that a lot of the apps that we use for free cost nothing because it’s. In fact is that are being sold to product advertisers. Fortunately, for users there’s, some great alternative privacy focused messaging apps like telegram or signal.

So what do you guys think? Are you going to switch to alternatives like telegram or signal, or are you okay with targeted advertising feel free to discuss below?

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