How Much Can We Trust WhatsApp?

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WhatsApp T&C's changed on 6 Jan 2021 force European users to accept data sharing with Facebook - or account gets deleted.
whatsapp_facebook_terms

WhatsApp is traditionally trusted for its always encrypted messaging policy. Sadly that trust is being eroded.  Your messages are still encrypted, for the time being. But WhatsApp has rolled out new T&C’s for Indian users that look set to pave the way for how the rest of the world will use the popular WhatsApp messaging service. They relate to your metadata, ie. data about your data. Who you know, who you message, when and how often. Who they know and message. What other activity is being tracked to your user ID. WhatsApp is forcing users to accept that all of this metadata is fed back to the Facebook group of companies. 

How Do You Feel About That? 😠

WhatsApp is forcing its users to accept T&C’s which enable it to collect the following metadata and to give them permission to share your WhatsApp metadata with the Facebook Group of Companies.

  • Number
  • Contacts
  • Device Id
  • Purchase History
  • Payment Info

Update: WhatsApp has kicked the can down the road...

Due to the public outcry about this attack on privacy, WhatsApp have moved the date by which these T&C’s need to be accepted from Feb to 15 May. This is kicking the can down the road. The issue is not going away.

Zak Hoffman created this brilliant graphic which shows what info Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage, and Signal collect on you.
It’s pretty shocking – but is it really?  We know we are being mined. Anyone who has watched “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix, or “The Great Hack” is aware of this.  

whatsapp-datalinkedtoyou-Zak

We already know that Facebook mines our data for their commercial benefit. In my opinion they are simply feeding their machine by following where the people are going. I’ve been talking up social media messaging as the new frontier for a long time now. We are there in droves. So it makes sense that Facebook will do everything in its power to mine us on our social messaging interactions. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a lover of this. But I’m not surprised.

The Real Question Is... Will You Switch?

We can see from the graphic above that Signal is the best social messaging choice out there when it comes to not mining your activity for profit.

 

Apple comes in second place due to its recent changes to the iMessage product. Apple and Facebook are in the early skirmishes of war for control of our data.

Unfortunately, Apple scored a blow recently when it changed the way its app store reports on the data that is collected. Now on every app’s product page, users can learn about the data types being collected, and whether that data is linked to them or used to track them. 

But knowing this as you do now, and after reading this post – are you going to stop using WhatsApp or Messenger?

If all your friends and family are there, are you going to be the one trying to push and cajole them over to Signal, or indeed Telegram?

Interestingly, I noticed only the other day that Motivational Super Supremo, Tony Robbins is using Telegram in conjunction with Facebook Groups for his latest challenge.

"If something is free, you are the product."

Be Aware

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