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How New WhatsApp Privacy Policy Is Going To Change Your Data & Privacy & Why Should You Care?

Facebook has proved too good to be true for the famous quote “If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product”. The alarm bells had already rung when Mark Zuckerberg announced to acquire WhatsApp in 2014.  While WhatsApp was offering end-to-end encryption services ensuring user’s data privacy. Facebook, on the other hand, was called on by Congress in the senate for violating data privacy in the “Cambridge Analytica” scandal.

WhatsApp which is now owned by Facebook, Inc. has released its updated Privacy Policy on January 04, 2021. WhatsApp Privacy Policy has a lot of changes which has left a huge number of its users thinking about whether to use this app in the future or not. Some are even thinking to delete their WhatsApp account and move to alternative platforms. However, WhatsApp says that these policy updates are meant to improve user experience (Pun intended, of course). The update is majorly centered upon the sharing of your personal information to Facebook and its linked platforms.

What Happens If You Don’t Agree With WhatsApp Privacy Policy

Whatsapp Privacy Policy

If you are like me and haven’t clicked the Agree button for now. It is going to make no difference, as the update will come into effect on the second month of this year February 8th, 2021. Those who don’t agree with the privacy policy update will not have access to the WhatsApp services further onwards. If you are inclining to opt-in and agree with the updates, be aware of what those changes could mean to you, and then make an informed decision. There are many clauses that would compromise and threaten your privacy and you will have no option to opt-out and use the service in simaltaneously.

Business Whatsapp vs Personal WhatsApp

There are many features that are provided on Business WhatsApp such as:

  • Business profile
  • Quick replies
  • Greeting Message
  • Away Message
  • Interactive Business Message
  • Contacts Labels
  • Message Stats
  • Catalogs
  • Facebook Shops Integration etc.

Business profiles are made for companies that are going to bring a lot of business to WhatsApp in the future. There is a strong possibility that Business profiles could be promoted to personal Whatsapp users but it hasn’t been announced yet in this update.

Stakeholders Who Could Take Control Of Your Data

The policy update mentions that the data will be shared across Facebook Company Products. The link only lists five of the company products at the moment which includes:

  1. Facebook Payments Inc.
  2. Onavo
  3. Oculus Rift
  4. WhatsApp
  5. CrowdTangle

However, when the data is shared with these products, some of them have clearly mentioned in their privacy policy that they help publishers and media companies to promote their content which is based on user and data analytics they offer. Not to your surprise, which may also include your personal data.

The privacy policy further adds on third-party services:

Whatsapp Payments & Your Information

WhatsApp payment is recently introduced to help businesses manage their payments. The policy clearly states that payment information of the customers is also collected and shared across Facebook-owned platforms.

Advertisements In Whatsapp Privacy Policy

The number one objective for Facebook over the years has been advertisements. Although, it is not mentioned in this release. However; it is also hinted that this could be on the cards if decided it would be updated in the future updates.

Advantage of being an Apple User

Apple products are notorious for their overpriced products. However, the latest iOS 14 update has enabled amazing features, which would indicate if any of the apps on your iPhone are using your mobile phone’s resources. Such as a green notification light will turn on if your camera is being used by an app. A mic icon would appear in the status bar if it is being used by any app. Apple users are happy that Apple is leading the case for their data and privacy protection as they already took up Facebook for their ads policy and user’s privacy. Apple is also forcing the platforms to inform their users about which data and information is being collected from them.

What Are Alternative Platforms & How to Properly Delete Your WhatsApp Account

If privacy is a big issue and concern to you. Simply deleting the app from your phone won’t work. You have to delete your WhatsApp account from the in-app feature. Otherwise, the data would be stored as mentioned in the policy:

The two best alternates at the moment are:

1) Signal

Signalapp has recently entered the market on December 17, 2020. After being endorsed by tech giants like Elon Musk & Edward Snowden. Users have literally flooded to the Signalapp platform. In a recent tweet, Signal admitted that so many users are registering on the platform that their infrastructure has hardly been able to manage them. They are trying to resolve and improve their services at the moment.

2) Telegram

Telegram has been in the market for quite some time and also has an established 2 billion user base. It was released on August 14, 2013. Some key features of the telegram are:

  1. Chat Folders Option
  2. Add Nearby People and Group Option
  3. Edit Sent Messages Option
  4. Send Silent Messages Option
  5. Schedule Messages Option
  6. Delete Sender’s Message Option
  7. Self-destruct Media in Normal Chats Option
  8. Edit Videos Option

Twitteratis Against Whatsapp Privacy Policy

Twitter users have stormed in against the policy update. #WhatsappNewPolicy and #WhatsappPrivacy have become top trends. Big voices are also turning up against WhatsApp as the recently turned World’s richest person and tech tycoon Elon Musk has cast his vote in favor of Signalapp. Which is a big discredit and red flag to WhatsApp.

The SignalApp company’s stocks have also touched the sky by going up to 124.47% following just one tweet.

Edward Snowden, the renowned computer analyst, and whistleblower has also endorsed Elon by retweeting and mentioning Signalapp’s official Twitter handle to help users find the platform.

 

Social media users are clearly not happy. They are enraged how Facebook could retract from their statement that they will not merge WhatsApp with Facebook. Users are posting screenshots of deleting their WhatsApp accounts:

While some have turned this around to a funny meme battle.

Final Thoughts & Suggestions

We have evolved from calling phone numbers to WhatsApp calling and real-life group conversations to WhatsApp groups. Due to COVID we are sharing more of our information and data through these platforms. Maybe this is the call of awakening that there must not be total reliance and blind eye trust on these platforms to protect our privacy. Most of you might be OK with sharing your data with advertisers for personalized ads. However, your data and information are not only limited to the advertisers but also to other companies that would track your profile picture, location, demographics, battery status, signal strength, and who knows what else. I think they have made the privacy policy deliberately lengthy as most of us don’t bother to read the privacy policy thoroughly.

Nonetheless, there are alternatives out there. The best way to make WhatsApp top-tier leadership realize is to move to other platforms. I hope the time comes when the laws are legislated to not compromise our data and information without our permission.

In case you want to read thoroughly, here is the official release of the Privacy policy update:

https://www.whatsapp.com/legal/updates/privacy-policy/?lang=en

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