Why you should take the latest WhatsApp scandal seriously – Harrogate Informer

We have to communicate with each other. We must. Smartphones and all the apps available on them allow us to do this much more easily than we were previously able to do. The market is full of options. Developers upload their latest creations to the Play Store, Apple Store – whatever store you use – and promote their perks: how they’re different, and how they’re better than other competitors. Yet despite all of this, we stick to a few: Facebook Messenger, Twitter and Instagram DMs, Snapchat and WhatsApp.

This is obviously for practical reasons. You can’t have a different app to talk to each of your contacts. However, there is a monopoly. Facebook and Google have been accused of anti-competitive practices that further strengthen the monopolies of big companies and Silicon Valley giants. As such, our options are actually quite limited.

In recent years, scandals have hit these same companies. The anti-competitive fees have caused some grief to Google and Apple, accused of making it difficult for publishers and developers to develop their apps through their stores. Another, however, which regularly causes problems and concerns that are more direct to consumers themselves, is data privacy.

Facebook-Cambridge Analytica is one of the biggest news stories of all the past few years, let alone the tech. Before that and since then, there seems to be a report every week on how a hack happened, how there was a leak, or how one company is selling data to another without the explicit consent of its customers.

It is frequent and difficult to follow. It is not surprising that citizens and average customers have grown numb, a little weary of these reports. They think they have nothing to hide, so what’s the harm? Others, however, have had enough, notably Facebook and their products.

Customers take the initiative

It is important to consider that this WhatsApp story, which will be detailed soon, takes place in a world where more and more customers are interested in their privacy and are using solutions outside of established institutions and methods to take control. controlling their experience as a customer.

Customers of online casinos are a good example. While the casino sites themselves give no reason to be suspicious, customers, if they are to use the site in the long term, must register their bank details. This is sensitive data. As such, they find ways to avoid giving out such details that can access their main account which holds the majority of their money.

Fintech solutions have contributed to this. Not only do they help customers to avoid the problem of not being able to access a brick and mortar bank to organize their finances, but they can also provide a buffer, act as an intermediary, between a company – to continue our example, online casinos – and a customer. Electronic wallets are an option, where customers can transfer money to a separate area and then use it as a way to transact, which means bank details are not saved at an online casino . Players can read reviews on comparison sites like OLBG and see which e-wallets are accepted, as some establishments will favor the more standardized options like Neteller or Skrill, for example – although others may be more flexible. This can often be a key factor in a client’s decision-making process.

Despite this model, are customers downloading other messaging apps because they are interested in privacy in general or because of WhatsApp’s Facebook connection?

Whatsapp and facebook

WhatsApp has updated its Terms of Service and Privacy Policy on which users received a pop-up. The main focus of the update was to detail its practices on how business users can store their messages and communications. However, as part of the policy, users noticed that the messaging app removed a passage about refusing to share WhatsApp account information with their parent company Facebook. Some customers have always cynically assumed that this non-consensual data sharing was common practice, hidden in lingo and smoke in the fine print and public relations, and that this update was an accidental slippage of the truth.

They are right and wrong. Removing this passage does not change WhatsApp’s data sharing practices. Since 2016, they share user information and metadata with Facebook. Its billions of users have had thirty days to opt out of part of this sharing. If a user has done this, within that time, WhatsApp has done and will continue to honor that decision. The billion new users gained since have had no choice. Data such as a user’s phone number, usage statistics, device IDs, language, and a number of other things can be shared with Facebook.

WhatsApp stresses that their practices, with the updated policy, will not change and that users’ messages continue to be safe and secure and unreadable to anyone other than the user themselves and the recipient (s). of a message, due to WhatsApp. end-to-end encryption software. Therefore, WhatsApp and Facebook cannot view or acquire data from your chat logs or calls. So, yes, the clients who thought this was happening were half right, in that there is a non-consensual element. However, it’s not all mirrors and smoke, but rather more explicit avoidance of the problem, a sneak attack.

Distrust of Facebook

WhatsApp’s response was to assert that nothing has changed, but since this reveals downloads from Signal, whose verification system has struggled with the high number of new users, and Telegram, which has gained twenty -Five million new users, 27% of them from Europe, have skyrocketed around the world. The signal is more secure than WhatsApp and Telegram. It does not store any data and encrypts every file, ensuring that there are no data sharing practices and that security is paramount. Telegram doesn’t focus on security as much as Signal. However, it has similar functionality to WhatsApp, so it has a more user-friendly interface and experience, with the main difference that it is not owned by Facebook.

That last point might be the most important: it just might be that the only reason some customers download these other apps is because WhatsApp is owned by Facebook.

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Zuckerberg’s repeated appearances before Congress, customer confidence in Facebook has plummeted. However, there is still growth. Just because downloads of other apps are increasing doesn’t mean customers are quitting WhatsApp. As mentioned above, not all of the people a customer needs to contact may use other apps. It’s a tough line. When contact is as important as contact, priorities can change. Could it just be that customers are demanding new and important privacy and transparency policies from Facebook, rather than from each other?

About Georgia Duvall

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