A great fuss ensued when Facebook recently announced that one of their most popular application WhatsApp, will change its user policy. Since those things are always a formality when it comes to web applications, this time something else happened.
About the policy
First of all, to understand why Facebook did this, there are some speculations that Facebook, ever since the acquisition of WhatsApp, tends to merge Messenger, Instagram Direct Messages, and WhatsApp into one joint application. To do this it is necessary to change WhatsApp user policies since it was much more loose, toward user privacy (users have much bigger privacy, especially for data) than on Facebook application, also if we consider Facebook previous controversies about user data privacy, you can get a pretty clear picture of this. But what the policy concretely changed?
The document itself has a lot of changes but there are two main ones which are about user’s data:
- Beginning of the document,
The first line of the previous policy document was “Privacy is in the first place” (top priority), but in this new version, that line doesn’t exist. In other words, Facebook is, undoubtedly, sending a clear message to its users.
- All users must share their data with Facebook.
This doesn’t only include WhatsApp data, but also things such as your phone number, the frequency of using the application, how long do you use it… and even your location!
What is next?
A policy such as this was also released a few years ago, but back in that time, users had the option to refuse it. Now, if you don’t accept it until the 8th of February, you won’t be able to use WhatsApp anymore (until you don’t accept it). This announcement provoked many scandals since WhatsApp itself was famous for its end-to-end encryption, which is one of the best keepers of chat privacy available. It is obvious that Facebook and privacy usually don’t come in the same sentence, so many experts and celebrities suggest to use some alternative chat applications. You can find more about alternatives here.