Saturday, September 25, 2021

Invasion of privacy is a concerning issue. Nobody would like to have any interference in their personal lives. That is why there is a difference between our professional life and our personal life, isn’t it! Privacy concerning online sites is more critical. It is extremely crucial to pay attention to the terms and conditions of the social media platform to secure your chats and other important messages.

Exposing your data to third-party users can risk your safety as well. One of the recent concerns that plague the very idea of privacy is related to Whatsapp. Whatsapp, in its recent privacy update, has caused much controversy. Stirring things up, there is no doubt that half of your data, including your chats, are exposed to users on the dark web. As a result, it threatens your security and makes you vulnerable to personal attacks. Let’s take a look at the recent updates that Whatsapp has come up with.

The brief yet deceptive appearance of Whatsapp:

WhatsApp, one of our favorite and widely popular chatting app, has come up with several updates. The disappearing message on WhatsApp, getting rid of the unwanted group notifications, WhatsApp payments, and much more. Users seem to be happy each time they updated the app to its latest version, except recently when it updated its privacy policy. For anyone who will deny accepting it will no longer have access to it after 8th February 2021. Users face a dilemma: they should get the policy or not as the concern is “data-sharing.” 

Diving deep into “data-sharing”: How is your data being shared via Whatsapp?

We all know that WhatsApp messages are encrypted, which means they can’t be shared with anyone except the receiver. But WhatsApp has come up with the latest version of WhatsApp in which it is demanded to accept the “changed” privacy policy of the app, or one may not be able to access the app.

According to a Mint report, it is said that the new privacy policy will share the user’s data to Facebook for commercial use and hence target consumers with the advertisements they want to see, including Instagram.

As well as a few media outlets, users assumed that this update meant that WhatsApp had given them no choice but to share their data with other platforms. But WhatsApp clarified that the new privacy policy is nothing but a mere reflection of how data has been shared with Facebook since 2016. An update that was introduced to the users by WhatsApp in August 2016 started sharing metadata with Facebook. WhatsApp gave its 1 billion users a choice to choose what data to be shared and opt-out from some of the data sharing. This time n such a choice seems to be given, and users are told to agree to the new privacy policy before 8th February.

The ministry of electronics and information technology (Meity) has stepped into this matter and is closely studying the new privacy policy. All your data can be shared with the most popular social media platform, which is Facebook. A change in the social media intermediary guidelines will soon be drafted for user’s data safety.

WhatsApp already shares a lot of information with its parent app, Facebook, and its other firms. Information like phone number, transaction data (due to the recent update called WhatsApp payments), service-related information, business information (how you react with others on a particular topic), IP address, and information related to mobile devices. 

The Dilemma Among People: Should you or should you not be using Whatsapp?

Will Cathcart, head of WhatsApp, tweeted on Saturday that no private information of the user will be shared with Facebook, and people will be able to talk just the same as before. He said that with an “encrypted message” system, people need not worry as no one except the two people messaging will see the information. He also noted that the privacy policy had been changed for good and “to be transparent and better explain optional people-to-business features.” 

Although Will tried to show the world a positive side of this update, there is still an air of suspiciousness. 

Applications that can replace Whatsapp over concerns related to privacy:

WhatsApp is facing intense competition from other messaging platforms like Signal and Telegram. Both these applications have witnessed an increase in downloads these past days. The new update received a lot of criticism from people.

A renowned person like Elon Musk, who is the chief of Tesla and has 14.7 million followers on social media, even suggested that people switch to “Signal,” an American-based messaging platform with end-to-end encryption message service. This became a hot topic, and people started searching and installing Signal. According to the data analysis firm Sensor Tower, WhatsApp downloads have decreased by 11% in the first week of January 2021 compared to last week. More than 1 lakh people have downloaded the app since then. Also, Telegram came into the scene too. Telegram has gained its popularity again with 22 lakh downloads in the last two days. 

Signal and Telegram can prove to be a reliable replacement for WhatsApp as Mint report mentioned that it doesn’t sell, rent, or monetize user’s data or any content to anyone for the display of advertisements. The signal became the no.1 free app on the AppStore in markets like India, France, Germany, and many other countries. They mocked WhatsApp by tweeting, “Look what you’ve done.” 

The ultimate solution available:

As Whatsapp has tried to keep up with its privacy concerns, it is still reviewing its concerns over the recent rage against the application. As users’ data are being risked, a solution to avert a big issue is being looked for. Till then, users can use any other application or patiently wait for users to know more about the current Whatsapp condition.


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