WhatsApp, a social media platform that has become a crucial element of our life, has made messaging easy and fun; most of us open our eyes to it in the morning. With the help of applications like this, we are living in the most connected times of human history.

But, are you sure your privacy is safe with WhatsApp? Is the vastly famous social media platform really providing end to end encryption to all of our messages?

WhatsApp

Data business have become large and influential in the last 4-5 years. WhatsApp has spread its networking in more than 180 countries worldwide, and it operates in more than 60 different languages. WhatsApp has more than 2 billion global users. The chatting application has become so popular that every day over 65 billion messages are being shared; (Connective system, 2019).

Last week WhatsApp released a new privacy policy, updating its terms of services. Soon after the alarming pop-up, users around the world started showing their concern regarding the new policy on social media with #WhatsApp is officially collecting your data from now on.

What does the new privacy policy of WhatsApp mean to us (users)?

In the last week’s privacy policy, WhatsApp declared that it would be sharing a lot more data with its parent company Facebook. Facebook is already surrounded by a cloud of suspicions regarding data privacy, making users more concerned about their data security. But what is important is, what sort of data will WhatsApp share with its progenitor.

What will be shared?

WhatsApp would be sharing our metadata to Facebook, which is:

  • Profile status
  • Photographs
  • IP address
  • Payment information
  • Battery strength
  • Signal strength
  • Device ID
  • Location

Post the new privacy policy’s implementation, WhatsApp will have the liberty to share the following information to Facebook. Also, after launching commerce platforms by Facebook and WhatsApp, the companies will be unbound to share business chats between accounts; thus this data can be used by Facebook to add targeting towards you.

While chatting and purchasing with businesses via WhatsApp, businesses will be asked if they want to share the costumer’s data or not. Each business can independently makes its decision, but it is still casting caution to the wind.

What will not be shared?

WhatsApp has cleared that personal chats between friends and families will still be end-to-end encrypted. WhatsApp group’s data and chats will not be shared for ads purposes. User’s contacts list and shared-location will not be offered to Facebook. The company will not store WhatsApp call and message’s data.

WhatsApp: Clouds on the horizon

There are still many chained drawbacks in the new policy form privacy, security and data monopoly point of views.

Privacy concern

The more the data FaceBook haves about you, the better will it be able to draw you as a user. It will get a better understanding of what you purchase more often, how much you spend and on what, the device that you use etc.; which most of the users are not okay with sharing their data. The company can use this type of data to show you better-targeted ads.

Security concern

If a company haves abundance of personal information about you, the data can be used for wrongdoings in leakage or hacking cases. The concern is also that Facebook might misuse the user’s data for earning more profit.

Data monopoly concern

Data monopoly’s concern surmounts leaders globally. When one single company have a huge amount of data, rather than the data being distributed into small companies, it makes the single company a powerful entity.

What should you do now?

Witnessing users’ exodus from the application, new similar chatting apps like Telegram and Signal are gaining publicity. But a complete switch to these apps is not a practical possibility. Therefore it is not possible to abandon WhatsApp, which thus makes it a monopoly.

But, there is no choice to accept this new change, you can either accept the new privacy policy and stay connected or you don’t accept the policy and your account while no longer be active.

Europe has already restricted WhatsApp from sharing a lot of user’s data from its countries. One way of dealing with such problems is a rigid data protection law that the governments must build if they haven’t already. This will help the users to take legal actions if something goes wrong with their data.

Previously the new privacy law was planned to be implemented from 8th February 2021. But seeing the uncertainty regarding the new law amongst users, WhatsApp, has rescheduled the implementation to 15th May.

Because of data monopoly, globally, there is a call to break up Facebook, as the company owns most of the major social media platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram. But still, the work is in progress, and the world has a long way to go to end the data monopoly battle.