People are crazy about Facebook’s WhatsApp privacy policy

Indranil Mukherjee / Getty Images:

Over the past week, around 2 billion people worldwide using WhatsApp, Facebook’s instant messaging service, were greeted with a giant pop-up when they launched the app.

“WhatsApp is updating its terms and conditions և privacy policy,” it said.

Clicking resulted in 4,000 words Privacy Policy, which states that WhatsApp will now reserve the right to share data such as phone numbers, IP addresses և payments made through the app with Facebook այլ other Facebook-owned platforms such as Instagram. It also says that if people use WhatsApp to talk to businesses that use Facebook hosting technology to manage those conversations, those messages can be used by businesses to target people with ads on Facebook.

Unless people agree to these new terms, they will be blocked from WhatsApp on February 8.

Online, the response was quick. “Use the signal” made a note in the tweets Tesla CEO Elon Musk told his 42 million followers, citing the open source alternative to WhatsApp, which is popular among people who deal with sensitive information, such as journalists and activists. “I use [Signal] “Every day, ‘I’m not dead yet.’ made a note in the tweets American announcers Edward Snowden. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s press office in Turkey’s Ministry of Defense says they are leaving WhatsApp After the change of policy, an investigation was launched into that step.

Signal became the best free app app store in both the best countries in the world and Google and Apple. In the week of January 4, more than 8,800,000 people downloaded Signal on iPhones և Android phones, compared to just 246,000 last week, according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower. Telegram – Another Alternative to WhatsApp he said on Tuesday, when more than 25 million people joined in the last 72 hours.

This More than 5 million people downloaded #Signal this weekend, after @elonmusk և @Snowden tweeted about it 😱 👁‍🗨 #privacy #whatsappOur report 👉


“I was concerned about my privacy,” Mumbai marketing expert Paul Paul, who only wanted to be identified by his first name, told BuzzFeed News. “Facebook monetizes its products for users in invasive ways.”

In addition to Facebook, WhatsApp is the largest և most popular service on Facebook. In markets like Brazil և India’s the app default weather communication for hundreds of millions of people. But so far, Facebook, which paid $ 22 billion to buy it in 2014, has largely kept it independent, not trying to make money from it. Now that is changing.

“We are committed to the privacy and security of people’s private messages,” a WhatsApp spokesman told BuzzFeed News. reference on a page the company posted earlier this week explaining the new policy. “The best way to maintain complete encryption in the long run is to have a business model that protects people-to-people communication.”

The page says that WhatsApp believes that messages with business are different from messages with friends և family, և breaks down the data that the company may share with Facebook in the future.

The new privacy policy will allow Facebook, which earned more than $ 21 billion in the last quarter of 2020 by advertising to people, to use WhatsApp to make even more money. But doing so means trying to gather more data in the app’s large user base, և risking sending many of them to competitors.

“If you spend $ 22 billion to buy something, sooner or later the shareholders want you to monetize that asset,” New York-based tech lawyer and civil liberties activist Mishie Chudhari told BuzzFeed News.

WhatsApp, started by two former Yahoo employees, Jan an Kum and Brian Acton, initially charged people $ 1 a year. After Facebook used the app for free, the growth exploded. For the first few years after buying the app in 2014, Facebook largely left WhatsApp alone. But in 2018, it launched WhatsApp Business, which allows businesses to use WhatsApp to communicate with customers. For the first time, Facebook wanted WhatsApp to start generating revenue.

Over the past year, WhatsApp has added more features for businesses, such as flight tickets, purchase receipts, catalogs:, և: payments:, WhatsApp said that there are more than 50 million businesses on the platform, և more than 175 million people send business applications to businesses every day.

“They want WhatsApp to become a payment service, a shopping portal, another aspect of your life that will be covered by Facebook’s data collection efforts,” said Devdutta Mukhopadhyay, a lawyer for the Internet Freedom Foundation, a non-profit organization that is working to protect digital freedoms, he told BuzzFeed News. “This is exactly what their recent privacy policy is all about.”

“I do not trust Facebook,” said Paul. He recently shut down his Facebook account, although he still uses Instagram և WhatsApp. “I am required to take part in it, but I do not trust it,” he said.

Trust in WhatsApp has eroded since Facebook bought it. Kum advocated selling the app to Facebook in 2014 Blog post:noting that the company is not interested in people’s personal data. “If working with Facebook meant we needed to change our values, we would not do it,” he wrote. Two years later, however, WhatsApp announced that it will start disseminating some data, including phone numbers և the last time people used the service with Facebook, a move for which the European Union was fined that is 110 million euros.

Involvement in the current counteraction is misinformation. Most people do not realize that WhatsApp’s new privacy policy only applies to business conversations, not personal conversations with friends and family, and urges others to boycott the program.

“I honestly do not think that most of the people who are currently angry with Signal or Telegram have actually read the new privacy policy,” Mukhopadhai said. “No matter what the complicated legal documents say, people’s life experience tells them that they can not trust their data to companies like Facebook.”

In response, Facebook is carrying out charming offensive actions. In India, the company’s largest market with more than 400 million users, the company topped the front pages of major national newspapers with full-page advertisements, explaining that it could not see people’s private messages or hear their calls. “Respect for your privacy is encrypted in our DNA,” the WhatsApp ad said in response to Kumi’s 2014 blog post.

Facebook CEOs like: Head of Instagram: : Facebook: virtual reality manager, posted tweets in support of the program.

On Friday, Will Katcart, head of WhatsApp, also tweeted that the company could not see people’s personal conversations, that the new privacy policy only applies to business messages.

“It’s clear to us that this update describes business communication, does not change the practice of sharing WhatsApp data with Facebook,” he wrote. “It does not affect the way people interact with friends or family, wherever they are in the world.”

Cathcart did not respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News.

Despite the protests, it can be difficult for WhatsApp to be ashamed in countries like India. Mumbai marketing expert Paul said he would continue to use the app until he urged everyone he knew to move to Signal.

“It’s not an easy sale,” he said, “because of the convenience of WhatsApp.”

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