WhatsApp Privacy Concerns

Many of us use WhatsApp to communicate on a daily basis with family and friends. It is popular with users as it’s a secured messenger with end-to-end encryption, keeping all conversations safe, and no advertisements. At least that’s what we thought right?

 

In WhatsApp’s latest update, it has made changes in its privacy policy, which has left users with many concerns. These changes include how data is collected through the WhatsApp application and will be shared with Facebook and its subsidiaries, and how they will use the data.

 

WhatsApp had given a deadline of February 8th to its users to accept the new policy. Since the announcement, WhatsApp has responded by extending the deadline to May 15th and clarifying a few points about the new update. Pictured below is part of WhatsApp’s response to its privacy policy update concerns.

 

Currently, WhatsApp shares users’ phone number and other “account registration information” with Facebook. As well as your IP Address (which identifies your location), your mobile device information (such as the make and model) and your payments and financial transactions made over WhatsApp.

 

How will WhatsApp now work with Facebook?

 

Facebook Hosting Services

 

WhatsApp claims that when you message a business it’s different to when you message your family or friends. They are giving businesses the option of secure hosting services from Facebook to manage their WhatsApp chats, which will be clearly labelled. If you communicate with a business via phone, email or WhatsApp, the business can see what you’re saying and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook.

 

Discovering a Business

 

While using Facebook, you may see an advertisement to message a business using WhatsApp. Facebook can use the way you interact with these types of advertisements to personalize other advertisements you see on Facebook.

 

WhatsApp have assured its users’ that the privacy and security of personal messages and calls are protected by end-to-end encryption, and both WhatsApp and Facebook cannot read or listen to them. The new update is to enable users’ to communicate with businesses more efficiently through the use of their app.

 

WhatsApp users have turned to two alternative apps to WhatsApp due to these privacy concerns. These apps are Signal and Telegram. Signal offers more privacy features than Telegram, but both protect user’s calls and messages through encryption.

 

If you are using chat apps for yourself or your organisation, make sure you know what terms and conditions you are agreeing to. Read the privacy policies and find out where your information is being stored, and if it is being used for marketing purposes.

 

 

References:

 

AFP 2021, WhatsApp Delays Data Sharing Change After Backlash, Security Week, viewed 28th of January 2021,<https://www.securityweek.com/whatsapp-delays-data-sharing-change-after-backlash?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Securityweek+%28SecurityWeek+RSS+Feed%29>.

 

Bruno G, Woolley S, 2021, ‘We want to address some rumours’: WhatsApp responds after data-sharing controversy, 7 News, viewed 28th January 2021,<https://7news.com.au/technology/we-want-to-address-some-rumours-whatsapp-responds-after-data-sharing-controversy-c-1946138>.

 

Chau D, 2021, Tesla boss Elon Musk gives wrong Signal, as consumers dump WhatsApp over ‘badly timed’ decision, ABC News, viewed 28th January 2021,<https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-01-16/signal-telegram-facebook-whatsapp-privacy/13062920>.

 

Hoffman C, 2021, Signal vs. Telegram: Which is the best chat app?, How-To Geek, viewed 28th January 2021,<https://www.howtogeek.com/709053/signal-vs.-telegram-which-is-the-best-chat-app/#:~:text=Signal%20is%20owned%20by%20a%20non-profit%20organization,%20while,both%20offer%20apps%20for%20iPhone,%20iPad,%20and%20Android.>.

 

WhatsApp 2021, WhatsApp FAQ – About new business features and WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy update, WhatsApp, viewed 28th January 2021,<https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/security-and-privacy/about-new-business-features-and-whatsapps-privacy-policy-update>.

 

WhatsApp 2021, WhatsApp FAQ – About new business features and WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy update, WhatsApp, viewed 28th January 2021,<https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/security-and-privacy/answering-your-questions-about-whatsapps-privacy-policy/?lang=en>.

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