Whatsapp: Elon Musk recommends switching to another messenger

Tesla boss Elon Musk.

Patrick Pleul / picture alliance via Getty Images

Whatsapp, which sells itself to users as a privacy-friendly messaging app, will begin to force users to share personal information with its parent company Facebook.

In an announcement sent to users on Wednesday, Whatsapp wrote that they must consent to Facebook and its subsidiaries being allowed to collect Whatsapp data such as users’ phone numbers, contact phone numbers, locations and more.

If users do not agree by February 8th, they will lose access. The move led to calls to users to delete their WhatsApp accounts and switch to smaller encrypted messaging apps such as Signal or Telegram.

Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, and in 2016 it gave users the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to opt out of sharing app data with Facebook. Now they have no choice.

Tesla CEO Musk: “Uses Signal”

“Signal and Telegram are now better alternatives if you are worried about your privacy,” tweeted about the “TechCrunch” editor Mike Butcher. He shared comparisons of the data WhatsApp collects with what Signal and Telegram collect.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was also among those who now recommend users to switch their messenger. He tweeted: “Use signal”.

Whatsapp spokeswoman explains data exchange with Facebook

A WhatsApp spokeswoman told the tech blog “ArsTechnica” that the change in the messenger’s terms of use will allow companies to save WhatsApp chats over the broader Facebook infrastructure.

She didn’t explain why the platform chose to make this change, but said it won’t affect users in the EU and the UK.

“There are no changes to the data transfer practices of Whatsapp in the European region (including Great Britain), which result from the updated terms of use and privacy policy,” said the Whatsapp spokeswoman. “It is still the case that Whatsapp does not share Whatsapp user data from the European region with Facebook so that Facebook can use this data to improve its products or advertising.”

WhatsApp founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum left the company in 2017 and 2018. Acton justified his departure with the previously made decision to introduce ads on WhatsApp and called for people to “delete Facebook.”

This article was translated from English and edited by Josh Groeneveld. You can read the original here.


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