In the information age, there is nothing more important than data. For a long time, most users never realised the significance of their personal data. As long as they were able to use apps and services for free, giving away data seemed like a fair deal. But most people have become wise to the fact that personal data is a gold mine for those harvesting it, which is why data policies for mobile apps and services have become such a controversial topic in the past few years.
Whatsapp, the Facebook-owned messaging service, recently announced that a new policy change would be making it mandatory to share personal data with its parent company. This move is already getting backlash, as the app has a specific focus on user privacy through encrypted messaging. The announcement stated that users who accept the new terms would allow WhatsApp to access phone numbers and locations, along with other less obvious data that is collected. The new policy goes live on February 8th, and those who do not agree cannot use the service.
The internet has been vocal about WhatsApp’s policy change, and there have been numerous calls already for users to find alternatives. Many users feel that companies' data harvesting policies are unfair, which has led to other platforms to capitalize on the demand for privacy. In particular, Signal and Telegram, two smaller messaging services, have been mentioned frequently after the announcement, prompting users to switch over from WhatsApp to avoid giving their data away. In fact, Elon Musk made an announcement on Twitter for his followers to “Use Signal.”, showing a clear stance against this major policy shift.
Users are becoming much smarter about how valuable their data is, and are finally starting to revolt against the unfair trade of data-for-access with “free” digital platforms. Companies like WhatsApp should be much more careful about taking advantage of their users, otherwise they’re likely to give rise to competition.
Source Article: https://www.businessinsider.com/whatsapp-forcing-users-to-share-personal-data-facebook-elon-musk-2021-1
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