What’s up with WhatsApp?

  • February 27, 2021
  • Nevethan Balendra

Does the average user fully read the privacy policies or the terms and conditions of the apps that they use? If you said “no”, or “probably not”, you would be correct.[1] However, this does not mean that users are carefree about what happens with their data. This is evidenced by the uproar surrounding WhatsApp’s recent changes to their Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.[2]

Released in 2009, WhatsApp has become a household name over the past decade. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook Inc. and is popular as a cross-platform end-to-end encrypted messaging and voice-over-IP service. On January 6, 2021, WhatsApp announced that it would update its Privacy Policy to help it better integrate with other Facebook products, making sharing information with Facebook mandatory for WhatsApp users. This prompted many responses online calling for users to leave WhatsApp and to use more “privacy friendly” messaging apps, such as Telegram and Signal—the same Signal used and endorsed by the likes of Edward Snowden, Jack Dorsey, and Elon Musk. As a result of this public outcry, the implementation of WhatsApp’s new Privacy Policy was pushed back from February 8, 2021 to May 15, 2021.