Skype tweeted recently that it “respects your privacy” and that “we are committed to keeping your personal data private and do not sell to 3rd parties” after WhatsApp revelled that from February 8, it will be mandatory for users to have their personal data shared with Facebook and other companies.
Back in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg’s social media platform purchased WhatsApp, a globally popular cross-platform messaging app, for a whopping $16 billion. Around 70% of WhatsApp’s users are active on the app every single day, a number which is not far off those using standard text messaging. At the time of the purchase, WhatsApp reassured its users that personal data would not be available to Facebook.
Alarm bells have raised over WhatsApp’s policy pivot, with public figures urging users to consider a move to other services. For example, Elon Musk has called upon people to change to Signal, an increasingly popular cross-platform encrypted messaging service which has recently seen an explosion in new user registrations.
Use Signal— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
In a series of tweets on January 7, Signal said that its verification codes were delayed “because so many new people are trying to join Signal right now.” Such news suggests that the vast number of messenger app users are becoming increasingly concerned with Facebook’s overreach on WhatsApp.
Verification codes are currently delayed across several providers because so many new people are trying to join Signal right now (we can barely register our excitement). We are working with carriers to resolve this as quickly as possible. Hang in there.— Signal (@signalapp) January 7, 2021
Others have also sounded the alarm over WhatsApp’s changing privacy policies and the increased sharing of users’ data with Facebook.
TechCrunch editor, Mike Butcher, tweeted about possible alternatives, again pointing to Signal, but also to Telegram, noting that they are more stubble for those concerned about privacy.
Signal and Telegram are now better alternatives if you are concerned about your privacy. Here’s what a Facebook wants out of you on WhatsApp and it’s own site: pic.twitter.com/uBN5g9ufgx— Mike Butcher (@mikebutcher) January 7, 2021
Netizens also gave their opinions on Facebook's encroaching control over WhatsApp users' data, and which alternatives may be best pursued.
privacy is an illusion in digital world pic.twitter.com/3Cj60u4nfd