Just like most people, when I saw the Terms and Conditions pop up on my phone, I clicked "I AGREE" and moved on with my day. Like who really has the time to go read boring lawyer talk? And how much could it really impact me?
But as time went on, I started to wonder why most privacy and open web advocates are so against it.
It kept nagging on me until I finally went and read all the boring stuff. I did the research and here is why I would suggest getting off Whatsapp in the near future:
This sounds irrelevant, seeing as it's basically your boring data like IP address, profile pictures, status updates as well as contact information.
WhatsApp still can't read your messages, as the messages are end-to-end encrypted, meaning only your intended recipient can read it.
But the main fear is what Facebook will be doing with your meta data. And if we know anything about Mr. Zuckerberg is that he absolutely loves money. Meaning Facebook would look for any new ways of squeezing even more dollars out of your online data.
This could mean anything from scanning your statuses for products you are interested in, using your local location to show local ads and much more.
This might not sound that bad right now, but the way to boil a frog is to only increase water temperature slightly, but over a long period over time.
I would not be surprised if Facebook/WhatsApp tracked the amount of people switching to messaging alternatives right now, and then using the data to see just how much they could potentially get away with (data collection wise).
Like would the majority of people actually mind if WhatsApp could actually read their messages? And that should scare you, as it means they could start censoring private conversations, gather even more data on you, as well as know some of your most private conversations.
And if even someone as powerful as Donald Trump could get removed from Facebook and Twitter, it would be foolish to think it can't happen to you.
So in essence, my suggestion would be to start taking back your online privacy, in even the smallest ways you can.
Signal : Signal is basically WhatsApp but without all your contacts and funny meme collection yet. The major upside is that Signal was built by people that value personal privacy and data encryption. It has no creepy tracking encoded, and is kept afloat by independent parties and public donations meaning there are no shareholders to please.
Telegram : Telegram is a messaging app that focuses on speed and security with the major upside of being accessible across all your devices simultaneously. It is based in Dubai, and has been funded by the owner up until now, but they have a plan to keep it free and ads free forever.
IF we have to be honest, WhatsApp is great, its convenient and it was the first very successful messaging app(shout out to the Mxit days). But its exactly for this reason that Facebook will continue harvesting more of your personal information without any consequences.
I'm placing my bet that we will start seeing ads in WhatsApp itself in the next 2-3 years, or at the very least, get digital ads that are hyper targeted to us with super specific demographics on sister platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
So that is why I would urge you to choose to be part of a better digital future. To take back even a little bit of personal information control. By going through the hassle of downloading a new messaging app and getting Ouma and Oupa on it eventually.
Thank you for reading this article and I hope you have a great day further.