18 January 2021
WhatsApp privacy changes
Unsplash © Jonas Leupe

What you need to know about the WhatsApp privacy controversy

Every week, Maddyness curates articles from other outlets on a topic that is driving the headlines. This Monday, we share the fallout of WhatsApp’s privacy changes from the business, finance and tech sectors.

WhatsApp users abandon the platform

WhatsApp has told its two billion users that they must allow it to share data with its parent company, Facebook, by February 8 or risk losing access to the app. Despite this not applying to those in the UK and Europe, the notification has been sent to users around the world and has caused a mass exodus from the platform. Read more on BBC News.

Competitors see sharp increase in downloads

Non-profit app Signal Private Messenger has experienced a boom in downloads since the WhatsApp news broke. Priding itself in not collecting any data from its users, Signal provides end-to-encrypted for one-to-one conversations and group chats. Check out WIRED UK’s guide to getting started on Signal and Maddyness’ spotlight on French competitor Skred.

Controversy shines spotlight on importance of privacy

In an era of notorious oversharing online, it’s clear that privacy is still something we hold dear. More regulation has been put in place in recent years so the public knows how their data is being used, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). But is this enough? Forbes reports.

WhatsApp faces a legal challenge in its biggest market

A petition has been filed to the Delhi High Court in India regarding the update. The petition claims that WhatsApp’s privacy changes, which will impact the approximate 450M users in India, is a violation to their right to privacy and could be a national security risk. Find out more on TechCrunch.

Despite the uproar, does Facebook care?

Probably not, says Bloomberg. Taking the rough with the smooth, Facebook updates its policies every few years despite much outrage, only for things to die down again. Data from app analytics company Apptopia also found that people have still spent significant time on WhatsApp this week despite the news. 

What do you think about WhatsApp’s changes to data privacy? Let us know on Twitter.