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What’s happening with the digital world regarding the WhatsApp platform

WhatsApp’s big mistake

Last month, we heard about controversy building around WhatsApp and how users have deserted the messenger service due to changes it made to its Privacy Policy. Concerns are spreading that their data could end up with Facebook which is driving competitors to push towards data protection.

Millions of digital messenger app users have searched for alternative apps in the last month after Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced privacy policy changes. There is growing concern among users around data privacy.

WhatsApp’s loss is another apps gain

WhatsApp’s competitor Signal saw 17.8 million downloads between January 5 and January 12 which was up from just 285,000 the week previous. Fellow messenger app Telegram saw an increase of 15.7 million downloads during the same period, twice the 7.6 million downloads it saw from the previous week.

Confusion on using the App

Downloads on WhatsApp dropped to 10.6 million, down from 12.7 million the previous week. It caused WhatsApp to issue a clarification, later going as far as to announce they would delay the updates until May.

In early January, WhatsApp users received a message announcing updates to the app’s privacy policy. A closer look revealed that there were accounts that did not agree to the new terms by the deadline (February 8th) which would be compromised or deleted. According to their FAQs page, WhatsApp has stated their policy update does not affect the privacy of user’s messages in any way and that the changes are related to optional business features on WhatsApp providing further transparency how data is collected.

The core issue is how it relates to WhatsApp’s data sharing procedures with Facebook, with many users concerned an updated privacy policy on February 8th will mandate sharing of sensitive profile information with WhatsApp’s parent company.

We await to see WhatsApps next move. Will they drop the changes or adapt them. They certainly reacted quickly when users started to move away.

Alternative messaging platforms you might consider

Telegram

Telegram is a free platform that uses end-to-end encryption and you can use it to send messages to people when connected to Wi-Fi or your mobile data, it is also cloud-based and claims that it concentrates on security and speed, making it a good alternative to other popular messaging apps. The service launched in 2013 and since then it has reached 200 million active monthly users.

Threema

Switzerland-based Threema is an open-source, paid messenger app with end-to-end encryption. Founded by software designers, it creates reduced amounts of data as possible on the company’s servers. What makes Threema unique is that each user is identified with an 8-digit ID rather than with their mobile phone number, adding another level of data privacy.

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