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Thursday, January 21, 2021

WhatsApp New Policy And the Backlash From “Common” People Will Cooldown

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Just a week ago the internet was hit with the news about WhatsApp privacy policy updates. Everyone was talking about such a major update in the policy and how it could affect WhatsApp users. In this article, I will not only discuss the change in the policy but how it will change the majority of its users.

WhatsApp Policy Update

Different mainstream media has already explained updates and when it will be forced on users. Let me just explain in brief.

WhatsApp users started getting a popup message about the privacy policy update. The message mentions the key updates in the privacy policy.

WhatsApp Policy Updates

All the three key updates are – how WhatsApp process users data, how businesses can use Facebook hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats, and how WhatsApp partners with Facebook to offer integrations. The last part is what people seem to be concerned about the most.

WhatsApp sharing data with Facebook is more problematic as people don’t consider Facebook as a privacy-focused platform. It has been known to share users’ data with third-party services.

If you are somebody who thinks Facebook is trustworthy, you should watch the following video of a very intelligent man –

In 2019, at the annual F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg joked about his own company’s privacy policy. “I know we don’t have the strongest reputation in privacy right now…”, he admitted.

Though, he always promises to improve its policy but somehow messes up every time.

In the third key update, WhatsApp talks about WhatsApp and Facebook integration. It’ll share users’ data with Facebook such as phone number, location, battery level, signal strength, IP address, etc.

The backlash started when users read WhatsApp data sharing with Facebook. At the time of writing this article, WhatsApp has released a statement saying the new policy does not allow sharing users’ messages with Facebook, and also the end-to-end encryption will remain.

WhatsApp Clarifies on Privacy Policy Update Amid Criticism, Says No Effect on Individual Chats

Options for users

Though, WhatsApp clarification statement came out yesterday, will it really convince people into believing it won’t share users’ messages with Facebook? Sadly, people who do not trust WhatsApp has only one option, leave it.

So far the policy update message has an option to skip the message to continue using their WhatsApp account. But, after February, 8th 2021, users can either accept the policy or delete their account.

Also, if you think deleting your account will delete your data shared on WhatsApp, not really. All the data that you have shared with your friends, family, or in group chats, will remain there even after you delete your account. So if you want to delete all the data from WhatsApp, you need to find and delete messages from chats, then delete your WhatsApp account.

Will it really make people switch away from WhatsApp?

We at LinuxAndUbuntu use Telegram for many good reasons. We have always promoted the use of open source services whether it be Telegram or Signal.

But, it is difficult to teach people about the importance of their privacy because it’s not useful for most of them. WhatsApp and other similar closed-source and free services actually run on using and selling users’ data. The reasons for data sharing has gone above showing ads. Cambridge Analytica has shown us how politicians can manipulate users’ thinking and made them do something.

For more on Cambridge Analytica, I suggest watching the documentary, The Great Hack.

Netflix has a great movie called ‘The Social Dilemma’ that describes how users’ own data is used to control and manipulate their thinking. All of it described in the movie is by the people who developed parts of it. It proves there is no privacy on these kinds of so-called free services.

Besides these, WhatsApp, in the new policy made the decision to share some of users’ data with Facebook that’s known for its poor privacy policy. The majority of people have never cared about what WhatsApp does with their data, where it is shared, or for what reasons it is shared, is not a big question for most of its users.

I think it’s the first time WhatsApp is facing such a backlash from the mainstream media, companies, and even common people. WhatsApp had to clarify that none of users’ personal messages will be shared with Facebook.

Besides, all the hue and cry, the majority of its users will not bother about it all. For now, a large number of users are switching to other IM apps mainly Signal and Telegram but, 5 Billion Whatsapp users or a big portion of it suddenly realize the importance of privacy?

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