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Why is everyone going crazy over the new Whatsapp rules?

Updated: Apr 11, 2021


Some weeks ago whatsapp announced that they will be changing their terms and conditions starting with 8th of February affecting how they deal with data. After a shit storm from the users worried about their data they have decided to postpone this deadline with 3 months.

But what is all about?

Whatsapp and Facebook were at their origin 2 different companies. Until Facebook bought Whatsapp in February 2014 for the astonishing amount of 16 billion dollars. Just for comparison, GDP rankings the Republic of Georgia has a GDP of $15,830 billion.

And Facebook bought a company that was not producing any income as you know the whataspp service is for free and they also don’t sell ads like facebook to make money. So their only richness was data.

So what happens with the new terms and conditions – they specify that the Whatsapp data will be shared with Facebook, while until now they belongs to whatsapp only, which was part of Facebook but could not be accessed in order to improve the Facebook ads targeting.

What kind of data can Whatsapp access?

location data – where you are at a certain moment – of course if you have GPS enabled on your phone, IP addresses, time zone, phone model, operating system – if it is Android or IOS, the battery level, signal strength, the browser you are using, the mobile network, the internet service provider, your language settings, the time zone and even your IMEI – which is a single production code that identifies your phone.


Most of the people are worried that their conversations and photos will be stored and shared. This assumption is a bit far fetched and has nothing to do with the new terms and conditions. Whatsapp claims that all the messages are encrypted and by encryption no-one can access the data besides the recipient of the message, not even whatsapp itself. And once again because they will share now data with Facebook does not mean that your private conversations will end up on facebook or will be used to bombard you with ads for the next Peloton bike , if you were discussing about it with your best friend on Whatsapp. If that is true or not, we cannot debate here, but if there would be a security breach here it is more likely to happen on smaller players, with weaker security systems.

Moreover, the users from the European Union are protected by the GDPR General Data Protection Regulation) regulation, which says that data cannot be with third parties or used for scopes that are different from the original scope that the data was provided. So if you live in the EU you will not be affected by this change.

But just to know if you choose to leave whatsapp and join Signal or Telegram, know that by simply uninstalling the app from your phone, does not mean that you will delete all the data from the servers about you. The info I mentioned before will still be available for them, whether you choose to use the service or not.

I hope this will help you make an informed choice in deciding which tool to use

Cristina


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