WhatsApp gets the message

Wary of WhatsApp's changes to its privacy policy, many users move to rival platforms

WhatsApp’s relationship with its owner, Facebook, is coming under even greater scrutiny following its latest privacy update and has caused several users to seek out alternatives. The messaging platform has informed users that it reserves the right to share data across the Facebook ecosystem, including Instagram, whether or not WhatsApp users have accounts there or not, Bloomberg reports.

The network states that the new privacy policy will mean it “may use the information we receive from [this family of companies], and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customise, support and market our services and their offerings”.

Increasingly wary about social networks’ use of personal data, since the update was announced via the WhatsApp app, increasing numbers of users have moved across to newer platforms such as Telegram and Signal. The latter’s open source construction has been endorsed by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and its website features endorsements from both him and whistleblower Edward Snowden. The Telegraph reported that Signal’s systems were struggling under the weight of so many more new sign-ups, growing from 246,000 in the last week of 2020 to 8.8 million after WhatsApp’s privacy announcement (Source: Sensor Tower).

However, despite the privacy update, WhatsApp’s sharing of data with the wider Facebook network does not apply across the EU, or the UK which largely continues to match Europe’s data protection standards post-Brexit.

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