By Adedapo Adesanya
Following its controversial privacy terms which received backlash, WhatsApp may soon start losing some of its users as people have started migrating to rival platforms such as Telegram and Signal.
From February 8, users outside Europe who do not accept the new conditions will be cut off from the messaging app as WhatsApp’s data-sharing procedures with Facebook, its parent company, will mandate sharing of sensitive profile information.
However, WhatsApp has explained that the update has nothing to do with consumer chats or profile data, emphasising that the change was designed to outline how businesses who use the app for customer service may store logs of its chats on Facebook servers.
However, due to the service’s history and misinformation on social media, users who found the decision unfair have started jumping on core competitors like Signal and Telegram.
Signal has become one of the most downloaded apps on Android and iOS while Telegram, which is currently number 2 behind Signal on the App Store, saw more than 25 million new users sign up in the past few days.
Both Telegram and Signal are encrypted messaging apps, which ensures better privacy. They do not allow outsiders or the platform itself to see the content of the messages.
According to reports, new installation of WhatsApp fell 11 per cent in the first seven days of 2021 compared with the prior week, but that still amounted to an estimated 10.5 million downloads globally.
Further clarifying its position on the issue, WhatsApp wrote, “We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way.
“Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data.”
In the post on its new FAQ page, WhatsApp stressed that neither Facebook nor WhatsApp read users’ message logs or listen to their calls and that WhatsApp doesn’t store user location data or share contact information with Facebook.
WhatsApp has said the data it shares with its parent company does not include messages, groups or call logs. Despite this, other data such as call records, location, financial information etc may be shared while using WhatsApp.
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