Facebook has a really long history of privacy lapses, also including some more serious ones. And the mere fact that it also owns some of the most widely used social media apps already concerns privacy-conscious users too. However, WhatsApp was still able to keep a fair distance from Facebook’s unreliable privacy practices actually. That fringe advantage is soon going away. Since the messaging app has decided to enforce new usage terms that basically provide its parent company more control over your WhatsApp data as well. In this article, we are going to talk about WhatsApp New Terms of Services and What are your Best Alternatives. Let’s begin!
The in-app notification from the Facebook-owned platform basically sent both to Android and iOS users. It basically mentions key updates, like how the company processes user data. And how businesses can use Facebook hosted services in order to save and manage their WhatsApp chats. And also how the company partners along with Facebook to offer integrations across its products as well.
The promise of continued privacy
Well, when Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion, they actually vowed user privacy protection, and at that time no changes would be made to it. The messaging app’s data was however shared via default along with Facebook for better ad targeting. However, the users could opt-out at any time without even any strings attached. Well, now, the tables have turned (outside of Europe at least). As the opt-out option is going to completely remove via February 8. Decline the new policies and you guys will no longer be able to use WhatsApp at all actually.
So, the U-turn from the “respect for your privacy” DNA of the app along with the end-to-end encryption across chats right since 2016 is disappointing, to say the least actually. Obviously, the app has also landed in the wrong hands. And now Facebook is doing almost everything to exploit user data for its own revenue-generating motives. That has deep roots in how the business model operates actually.
WhatsApp New Terms of Services
Well, the data points out that all of the Facebook companies can also access may include. Such as your account details, any metadata that is associated along with your chats, your financial transactions (over WhatsApp Pay), and also even some information. That the app automatically collects, such as your log reports, device and network details, and your location (approximate, even if you have not yet consented to location sharing). It’s worth mentioning here that your WhatsApp chats and calls are still end-to-end encrypted. So neither Facebook nor WhatsApp can directly access your messages actually.
But, all the associated metadata is nothing short of a digital treasure actually. Facebook can also use to target its services and ads better. Having said that, these policy changes apply almost everywhere except the EU, and where WhatsApp has to work according to robust GDPR guidelines too.
Further about WhatsApp New Terms of Services
However, these are the primary concerns, the new policy also notes that the service will have no ads, for now. That indicates that this stance could change in the future. In addition, WhatsApp also clarifies that any information you share with business accounts on its platform can share via that outfit with other third parties. That may be governed via their respective privacy policies as well.
The information that you guys share along with WhatsApp will be shared is your phone number, app logs, status messages, your profile name, your profile picture, and also your IP address too.
However, as the unassuming user, you might think that has no repercussions. But experts also know that there’s a lot to lose in the long run since your personal data is now exposed to even more possibilities of exploitation actually. Even though Facebook would not inherently want to do that, however, in the online space things aren’t as simple as they actually seem.
Can WhatsApp or FB read your messages?
No! WhatsApp chats are still end-to-end encrypted actually. As long as that remains the case, the company or its parent cannot actually read the user’s messages. But, this doesn’t really change the fact that these firms’ algorithms can also gauge a user’s social structure. That is at the core of Facebook’s business model as well. Companies such as Facebook, Google, Jio, and many others try to track users’ activities across the internet. In order to better understand their behavior and target them along with product promotions. Whenever Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, data sharing among the platforms was actually expected to be minimal and based on user “opt-in” too.
The Best Alternatives of Whatsapp You can Use
WhatsApp has now put users’ data out in the open through serving it to parent company Facebook and Whatsapp New Terms of Services. And consequently also to third-party apps and who knows what else. So, it is a wise move to go for more secure, better, and also refreshing services that won’t leave your privacy in jeopardy actually.
- No advertisements at all
- Cloud-based, also accessible from a variety of different devices
- Option to delete content for the user as well
- It does not much transparency over the company itself
- Saves metadata
- Cloud may also affect privacy
- Creates its own standard encryption, which has been criticized actually
Telegram is perhaps WhatsApp’s closest competitor actually. In terms of functionality – and it also even looks almost identical to the Facebook-owned behemoth as well.
What basically sets it apart is that it doubles down on the promises over security. Not only are messages end-to-end encrypted, however, it is also possible to set messages in order to self-destruct after a given period of time. That leaves no trace of whatever important conversations you guys were having.
One other nice feature is that, unlike WhatsApp, it’s truly multi-platform actually. Along with apps available for desktop, as well as mobile, and also on the web.
- Also, Self-destroying messages
- PIN lock feature available
- Encrypted phone calls are possible
- Saves every little metadata
- It has comparatively few users
- No backup function available
The signal is just like many WhatsApp alternatives, it is relatively unknown, and its developers even more so. Most of these alternatives boast about their security credentials, however, if you’re really paranoid there’s only one option actually. WhatsApp New Terms of Services has made the user switch to different apps now. Signal offers the same suite of features as its competitors, as well as end-to-end encryption. However, there’s just one big difference: The app itself is open-source too.
Well, this means that all of the code for the app is publicly available to see. That makes it impossible for the creators in order to sneak in any backdoors that can provide governments or hackers access to your messages as well.
Also, the app has also scored a major endorsement to bolster its privacy credentials actually. Even further in the form of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as well.
- Better encrypted than WhatsApp
- Practical voting feature as well
- No advertisements at all
- PIN lock feature available
- Saves very little metadata
- Encrypted telephone calls are also possible
- It is not open-source
- Comparatively few users as well
- Not free of cost
Threema is basically a “seriously secure” messaging app, that should interest you if you are concerned about your security on WhatsApp actually. The app encrypts all of the data, also including messages, shared files, and even status updates as well. However, it lacks WhatsApp features such as voice & video calling, its security features are certainly impressive too.
It basically packs in the usual messaging features, along with a web client that basically works just the same as WhatsApp Web. However, includes a few unique touches like the ability in order to create a poll in groups, password or fingerprint-protect chats, anonymous chatting (no number required). And also the ability to agree or disagree with a message. Threema is actually a paid app but if security is important to you and you want a simple messaging app, and it is actually worth the money.
- It is Cross-platform
- Modern design too
- Group calls are possible
- Open source as well
- The low number of users
- Saves metadata
Protected via European data retention laws, Wire is a really secure messaging app with end-to-end encryption. It basically offers free personal accounts and paid business plans along with additional support and features. Wire boasts clear voice and video communications as well. WhatsApp New Terms of Services are different in Europe actually.
Wire also offers 1:1 and group screen sharing. It also supports multimedia file sharing and also audio filtering. It is available for all of the major platforms, you can log in to your account from eight synced devices.
You guys can format text along with bold and italics, and create lists within chats. You’ll also be able to optimize file sizes for easy sharing as well, and also set timers in order to delete messages for added privacy as well.
- User IDs rather than phone numbers
- Open-source software
- Clean desktop client
- Available in seven languages actually
- Encryption is not enabled by default and it requires manually switch on
It basically supports VoIP and video calling, as well as end-to-end encryption for messages as well. Each and every user receives a unique ID. This ID is used rather than a phone number, which helps to protect your anonymity.
Riot actually works on open-source software. However, it has its own bots, developers are welcome to create their own as well. This also lets users interact with the software, which makes it more versatile and secure. Its open-source features make Riot more suited for developer teams than corporate groups too.
Riot has also conversation rooms and users can visit any public chat room. It also offers private rooms that you can visit along with a link.
Plus, the desktop client has a clean and friendly interface and the app is also available in seven languages. It also lets you connect to other applications too.
WhatsApp New Terms of Services | Line, Viber, WeChat, and others
There are also a number of other messaging apps out there that actually have millions of users. Line, for instance, reportedly had 700m registered users in 2019. And Viber supposedly had 260m, active users, each and every month then too.
Well, some of these apps have some really interesting functionality too. Such as WeChat has a whole mini-app eco-system inside of the app, so that you can shop, order taxis, and so on without even leaving WeChat itself actually.
However, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend making the switch to these apps as they may not be all that useful actually. Why? since they’re mere minnows in the English-speaking world actually.
WeChat basically dominates China, Line is the go-to messenger in Japan as well. And BlackBerry Messenger is the biggest in Indonesia (no, really) – which is really great if you live there. If you guys are in the UK, the United States, or Australia but, you’re not going to find that many of your friends on these apps actually.
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