Tech

WhatsApp adjustments are bad blood, but that much will not change (for the time being)

The WhatsApp messaging service announced a number of changes to its privacy policy last weekend. That made many users nervous and suddenly Signal alternative became the best downloaded app. But in fact everything remains the same, especially in Europe.

WhatsApp says it will share “more data” with its parent company Facebook and that it can use the personal information you enter to create your profile. It could not do that before according to his policy.

For a long time, complete privacy was one of the great advantages of WhatsApp and therefore users are not satisfied with the new measures. A lot of people are calling to switch to competitor Signal. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, among others, recommended the app in a tweet without further context.

Encryption remains

And yet the adaptations are not the big drama some make of it. For starters, all conversations remain encrypted. WhatsApp cannot read your messages and will therefore not share them with Facebook. The same goes for your photos, videos and audio messages.

What WhatsApp will share with Facebook is your profile photo, your mobile number, which people you have contact with and which groups you are in. And it will roughly determine your location. That is just about the country or city where you are, if you share a live location with friends, WhatsApp cannot see it.

Advertising profile

With that extra information, Facebook can create a better profile of you that it can then sell to companies in exchange for advertisements. Obviously, not everyone can be found for this and so some people throw the app in the virtual trash can, but in Europe you should not be afraid. The European Commission has banned WhatsApp from sharing data with Facebook.

It is of course not unlikely that Facebook will set its lobby machine in motion and eventually persuade the European Commission to allow it. And Facebook’s reputation for handling user data isn’t great, as the Cambridge Analytica scandal shows.

Provide as little information as possible

If you still get a cold sweat, you can switch to an alternative like Signal or Telegram, which are not owned by major tech companies. But you can also just give as little information as possible if you like to keep using WhatsApp. Experts recommend not to use a photo of yourself and to enter a pseudonym in the app when you register. “That way, the company will know as little as possible about you,” he says.

By the way, keep in mind that other messaging apps could always end up in the hands of Big Tech in the future. WhatsApp has also been owned by Facebook for only six years. Before that, it was independent for five years.

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