The changes in terms of its privacy caused a lot of commotion for the company. This matter became so large that Whatsapp had to publish a post explaining their side of the story.
This has made users jump ship and switch to rival platforms like Signal and Telegram. Users residing outside Europe who do not accept the new privacy terms by Whatsapp prior to February 8 will be unable to use the messaging service.
The new terms of WhatsApp states that it holds the right to share the users’ personal data, including phone number and location, with Facebook Inc, Instagram, and Messenger. Before February 7, data sharing was optional, but now it will become mandatory. Other than this aspect, another crucial point is that WhatsApp can access information regarding the battery level of your device, hardware specifications, mobile operator, internet provider.
It can also disconnect you from WiFi, change audio settings, network connectivity, and control NFC.
Now, disconnecting you from the WiFi, and conducting other actions are a bit strange. Why would they need access at that level? It is no wonder why different experts talk about surveillance capitalism and the growth of surveillance among big tech firms today.
Why do users not like it?
While the main concern is sharing details and location, many users have trust with Facebook as it has a poor track record of managing users’ personal data.
The founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov, said users do not want to share their privacy for free service. Durov knows that individuals prefer a more secure and private environment as they conduct their virtual conversations. It makes sense that the firm has been gearing up to be a part of the anti-data sharing group in tech. It also makes sense that Telegram is seeing an increase in users due to its non-invasive approach.
As per the stats, over 90,000 users installed the Signal app across the different mobile application stores in under three days. On the other hand, Telegram reported over 2 million downloads, which is certainly a substantial number.
Speaking about WhatsApp, in the first week of 2021, data showed an 11% fall in overall downloads, which is near to 11 million downloads worldwide. Indeed, as both the messaging apps, Signal and Telegram, ensures better privacy than WhatsApp, people are more likely to switch to these platforms.
What is WhatsApp Take on this?
The company reassured users by stating that WhatsApp and Facebook, both platforms can not see private messages, shared locations, and hear their users’ calls. They further stated that message content and location data contents are secure. The data that may be shared if you are using WhatsApp is financial information, location, call records, etc.
In the news article, WhatsApp said that they are providing options to businesses to use secure Facebook hosting services to manage Whatsapp chats with their users, send helpful details like purchase receipts, and answer their questions. Besides this, no matter the user’s communication medium with a business, it gives them access to user information for marketing, including Facebook advertising.