Coming to terms with WhatsApp: Did you stay for convenience or left due to privacy?

  1. Cheetosdust
    Starting Point Expert Community Expert Feb 4, 2021

    Cheetosdust , Feb 4, 2021 :

    WhatsApp has been in hot water recently - or boiling water to be more precise. A few weeks ago, users were prompted to accept the new privacy terms. If they failed to do so by February 8th, they would be forced to stop using the app. “After this date,” it was originally said, “you’ll need to accept these updates to continue using WhatsApp”.

    These new terms would change how WhatsApp communicates with Facebook to “offer integrations” and also how businesses could use Facebook services to manage the chats users have via WhatsApp. The backlash was, naturally, fierce.

    So much so, the deadline to accept the new terms was delayed from February to May 15th. As reported by The Guardian, during the first three weeks of January alone, Signal gained 7.5 million users. Telegram recorded even higher numbers: 25 million users.

    But now the dust is settling and it seems, more than anything, WhatsApp failed inequivocally in communicating what it was trying to do. Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion and it already collects information - the updated terms would not allow the Mark Zuckerberg company to collect more data.

    Facebook already knows:
    • Phone numbers
    • How often the app is opened
    • The resolution of the device screen
    • The location estimated from the Internet connection
    Facebook can’t access:
    • Content of your texts and phone calls
    • It doesn’t know (record) whom you are contacting
    • WhatsApp contacts are not shared with Facebook
    So, if the new terms are not meant to share (even) more information with Facebook, what are they for? As this The New York Times article bluntly explains, “to reflect the possibility of commercial transactions involving the mingling of activity among Facebook apps”. An item you browse in WhatsApp, for example, could appear in your Instagram (also owned by Facebook) feed.

    WhatsApp allowed confusion and fear to settle in. “The update includes new options people will have to message a business on WhatsApp, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data,” the company was forced to elaborate, already trying to control the damage.

    If it’s true a lot of us criticize the company, it’s also true a lot of us use it. How many? In January, 2018: 1.5 billion users. But in February, 2020, the number was a staggering 2 billion users. So what we have in our hands is a clear case of convenience versus privacy. A lot of members are worried and vocal against it, but also use it.

    And there are the “bubbles” associated with those billions of users. If your personal bubble is made of thirty people and none of them is willing to change, even if you care about privacy, how do you convince them to migrate their habits? You and me read the news, but it’s a well-known fact WhatsApp is used by a lot of non-tech savvy people who probably accepted the new terms without blinking and won’t budge. Change will never be the path of least resistance.

    It’s probable that you have opened WhatsApp today. To chat or to video call with family members, friends or loved ones. It’s easy to use and it’s (mostly) reliable and secure (end-to-end encryption). In that fight between it-just-works and suspicion: are you still using the app because it is so convenient or did you try to change your communication tool of preference because your data is more important?

    MazdaZohaib, Noe1, iLingaraj and 67 others like this.
  2. Tokolozi
    Most Original Avatar Feb 4, 2021

    Tokolozi , Feb 4, 2021 :
    I stayed because... eh I don't know, only my older family uses this. All the rest are on telegram already.

  3. Bobbie63
    Marshmallow Feb 4, 2021

    Bobbie63 , Feb 4, 2021 :
    Facebook sucks, whatsapp sucks and Zuckerberg is an hypocrite SOB.

    "I rest my case"

  4. Tobikage
    Nougat Feb 4, 2021

  5. Rohan_S_P
    Ice Cream Sandwich Feb 4, 2021

  6. Balaji2828
    Ice Cream Sandwich Feb 4, 2021

  7. dsmonteiro
    Community Consultant Staff Member Feb 4, 2021

    dsmonteiro , Feb 4, 2021 :
    I have to say, for those that are security and privacy-minded, Telegram is far from the best choice.

    Unlike Signal, and even WhatsApp, Telegram does not have end-to-end encryption by default, and for groups that isn't even an option you have.

  8. Sashank_10
    Gingerbread Feb 4, 2021

    Sashank_10 , via OnePlus 7T , Feb 4, 2021 :
    Haha. They haven't yet rolled out the stable version of OS 11 for the OnePlus 7T.

  9. Tobikage
    Nougat Feb 4, 2021

    Tobikage , Feb 4, 2021 :
    Yup.....They're working on the OP9.

  10. Sashank_10
    Gingerbread Feb 4, 2021

    Sashank_10 , via OnePlus 7T , Feb 4, 2021 :
    I would say most ppl have stuck to Whatsapp coz it's very convenient for them though there are alternatives.Personally, I do care about my privacy using the app and stuff, but you don't want to choose an alternate out of of habit. So you might as well exchange your data for " CONVENIENCE"

  11. McJader
    Marshmallow Feb 4, 2021


  12. #12
  13. SJBoss
    Lollipop Feb 4, 2021

    SJBoss , Feb 4, 2021 :
    don't put ideas in their head :rolleyes:
    The joke's on you. :rolleyes:

  14. Shailender Sharma
    Marshmallow Feb 4, 2021

    Shailender Sharma , Feb 4, 2021 :
    I don't use Facebook and if I feel like migrating to either Telegram, Signal etc. due to the implementation of new privacy policy, I don't mind it.

    Conveyance is good but Privacy also matters. Almost all the big companies are going after personal data.

    In words of, W Edwards Deming -
    “In God we trust, all others bring data.”

  15. Abhishek654
    Ice Cream Sandwich Feb 4, 2021

    Abhishek654 , Feb 4, 2021 :
    Telegram far better than any messaging app. Telegram has so many amazing features and privacy control options.

  16. SJBoss
    Lollipop Feb 4, 2021

    SJBoss , Feb 4, 2021 :
    WhatsApp - for buisness.
    Signal - for personal.
    Telegram - Internet buddies (mostly)

  17. dsmonteiro
    Community Consultant Staff Member Feb 4, 2021

    dsmonteiro , Feb 4, 2021 :
    I've moved to Signal, not specifically because of the added personally identifiable data that is now being shared with Facebook, but because of their ultimatum attitude with no possible opt-out. Like with Oculus, Facebook is being forced onto us. That simply doesn't work for me.

    While I haven't yet closed my WhatsApp account, I've migrated most of my conversations to Signal, and will continue to do so.

    Finally, contrary to what WhatsApp said, the changes in the terms (outside the EU), open the door to much more information being shared.

  18. SJBoss
    Lollipop Feb 4, 2021

    SJBoss , Feb 4, 2021 :
    Just like Community app right? a button here a reward there.

  19. Cheetosdust
    Starting Point Expert Community Expert Feb 4, 2021

    Cheetosdust , Feb 4, 2021 :
    You are not worried that your information - or more information than you know - is being shared between applications?

    I think this was, is and will be for the foreseeable future one of the biggest hurdles.

    You could - and can - see them clearly realizing that was a mistake. The backtracking is real.

    But that's the problem: you have to convince a lot of people to do so. If you have 5-10 contacts, it's doable; but how do you apply that flow when you are part of a gazillion different groups/chats?

  20. dsmonteiro
    Community Consultant Staff Member Feb 4, 2021