Critics say new enforcement agreement goes too far
WhatsApp users, be careful. A controversial update to the free messaging app was released on May 15.
The changes allow WhatsApp to share more of your private information with Facebook, the app owner.
Sounds a little harmless, right? And WhatsApp has been very clear on this: your private chats will remain private.
But critics, including privacy advocates in countries like Germany, Turkey, India and South Africa, say the policy goes too far.
What are you giving? Watch this video to find out:
Why are people worried?
The updated policy will allow WhatsApp to share your personal data, including location information and phone numbers, with Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, even if you don’t have an account on those platforms.
Users shouldn’t have to disclose so much personal information to use the app, critics say. This is not what they signed up for.
“Given Facebook’s status as one of the world’s largest corporations,” the South African news regulator said on May 13, action must be taken to “hold Facebook accountable”.
The new policy was supposed to become mandatory for all WhatsApp users on February 8, but the deadline was extended to May 15 following a backlash. (Image credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)
WhatsApp says the goal of the change is to make it easier for people to communicate with businesses – and even shop – on the app.
He says it is necessary to gather a little personal information to make this possible.
“We believe people are looking for apps that are both reliable and secure,” the company said in a Feb. 18 blog post, “even though it requires WhatsApp to have limited data. “
WhatsApp has said that its goal in the future will be to develop new ways of fulfilling its responsibilities “with less information, not more”.
Despite the latest update, conversations on the app are still encrypted, WhatsApp confirmed, meaning no one on WhatsApp or Facebook can read them.
What does this mean for users?
Over the past few days, users may have noticed notifications every time they log into the app, prompting them to accept the update.
If you don’t accept them, those reminders will become “persistent,” What’sApp said. This means it will be a bit non-stop.
At first, that might just mean losing access to your mailing list. Eventually, you will stop receiving messages or calls altogether.
Some people choose not to accept the update and instead explore similar apps including Signal or Telegram.
With files from Reuters, The Associated Press
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Dado Ruvic / Reuters