The announcement that WhatsApp will be unveiling new rules – and forcing users to agree to them – has created fear among users who rely on the messaging app to stay in touch with friends and family.
WhatsApp has long prided itself on its commitment to security and privacy, with ‘encrypted conversations’ and other important technologies integrated into the app.
Millions of users have reportedly ditched WhatsApp, with many switching to Telegram and Signal in the past few days amid fears over their privacy. Many took to social media to express their displeasure.
The Facebook-owned messaging service has received a lot of criticism after it disclosed that users must agree to share their data with the social network in order to keep using the service.
This data includes phone numbers, IP addresses, browser information, battery level, operating system, app version, mobile network, language and time zone, The Nation gathered.
The updated terms will allow additional sharing of information between WhatsApp and Facebook and its other applications like Instagram and Messenger such as contacts and profile data but not the ‘content of messages which remain encrypted’.
“We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings.”
Facebook aims to monetise WhatsApp by allowing businesses to contact their clients via the platform and to sell them products directly using the service, as they already do in India.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk, world’s richest person has asked users to switch to a messaging app called ‘Signal’. He appealed to people to switch to more encrypted apps than WhatsApp and Facebook
Also, Telegram picked up nearly 2.2 million downloads, according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower.
WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart however took to Twitter to clear the controversy on the privacy of users, He said: “I want to share how committed everyone @WhatsApp is to providing private communication for two billion people around the world.
“At our core, that’s the ability to message or call loved ones freely protected by end-to-end encryption and that’s not changing. With end-to-end encryption, we cannot see your private chats or calls and neither can Facebook. “We’re committed to this technology and committed to defending it globally.”