In the past week, nearly 2 billion people around the world who used Facebook-owned instant messaging service WhatsApp were welcomed by huge pop-up windows when they launched the app.
Unless people agree to these new terms, they will be denied access to WhatsApp on February 8.
Online, the rebound is very fast. “Use Signal” Tweet Tesla CEO Elon Musk has 42 million followers, referring to the open source WhatsApp alternative, which is very popular among people who deal with sensitive information such as journalists and activists. popular. “I use [Signal] Everyday, I’m not dead yet,” Tweet US whistleblower Edward Snowden (Edward Snowden). In Turkey, the media office of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the country’s Ministry of Defense announced that Put down WhatsApp After the policy was changed, an investigation was launched.
In most countries/regions in the world, Signal has become the number one free app in the Google and Apple app stores. Data analysis company Sensor Tower shows that in the week of January 4, more than 8.8 million people downloaded Signal on iPhone and Android phones, compared with only 246,000 last week. Telegram, another WhatsApp alternative, Say On Tuesday, more than 25 million people joined in the past 72 hours.
“I am worried about my privacy,” J. Paul, a marketing expert in Mumbai, told BuzzFeed News. He only wanted to identify it by initials. “Facebook monetizes its products in a way that is intrusive to users.”
In addition to Facebook itself, WhatsApp is Facebook’s largest and most popular service.In markets such as Brazil and India, the app is Default way Communication with hundreds of millions of people. But so far, Facebook spent $22 billion to acquire it in 2014, but the company has basically remained independent and has not tried to profit from it. Now, the situation is changing.
A WhatsApp spokesperson told BuzzFeed News: “We are always committed to protecting the privacy and security of people’s private information,” and said A link Go to the page explaining the new policy published by the company earlier this week. “In the long run, the best way to maintain end-to-end encryption is to have a business model that protects people’s private communications.”
The page said that WhatsApp believes that communications with companies are different from communications with family and friends, and it breaks down data that the company may share with Facebook in the future.
“If you spend $22 billion to acquire an asset sooner or later, shareholders want you to monetize it,” Mishi Choudhary, a technology lawyer and online civil liberties activist based in New York, told BuzzFeed News.
WhatsApp, founded by two former Yahoo employees, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, initially charged one dollar a year. After Facebook provided the application for free, it grew rapidly. In the first few years after purchasing the app in 2014, Facebook largely ignored WhatsApp. But in 2018, it launched WhatsApp Business, which enables businesses to use WhatsApp to communicate with customers. Facebook hopes for the first time that WhatsApp will start generating revenue.
In the past year, WhatsApp has added more business-oriented features, such as air tickets and shopping receipts, table of Contents, with payment method. WhatsApp said that there are more than 50 million companies on the platform, and more than 175 million people send messages to companies on the app every day.
Paul said: “I don’t trust Facebook.” He recently disabled his Facebook account, although he still uses Instagram and WhatsApp. He said: “I have to persevere, but I don’t trust it.”
Since Facebook acquired WhatsApp, trust in WhatsApp has weakened. Koum defended the sale of the app to Facebook in 2014 Blog post, Indicating that the company is not interested in people’s personal data. He wrote: “If working with Facebook means we have to change our values, then we won’t do it.” But two years later, WhatsApp Announce It will start sharing some data, including phone numbers and the last time people used Facebook’s services-the EU has taken this initiative for this fined This is 110 million euros.
In response, Facebook is on a charm offensive. In India, this is the company’s largest market, with more than 400 million users. The company has published full-page advertisements in major newspapers across the United States to clarify that people cannot see private messages or hear their calls. The WhatsApp ad said: “Respect for your privacy has been encoded into our DNA,” which echoes a sentence in Koum’s 2014 blog post.
He wrote: “The important thing for us is that this update describes business communication and does not change the data sharing practices of WhatsApp and Facebook.” “This does not affect people with friends or family anywhere in the world. The way of communicating privately.”
Cathcart did not respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment.
Despite strong protests, it is difficult to abandon WhatsApp in a country like India. Paul, a marketing expert from Mumbai, said he will continue to use the app until he urges everyone he knows to switch to Signal.
He said: “This is not an easy task because of how convenient WhatsApp is.”