Terms and conditions update on Whatsapp – now the company explains what’s behind it

After the GTC update, everyone wants to get away from WhatsApp – now the group explains what’s behind it

Whatsapp speaks out about the changes to the terms and conditions (symbol image)

© Whatsapp and mdphoto16 / Getty Images

The download numbers of alternative messengers have shot up since an update of Whatsapp’s terms of use. The group is surprised. And now explained why almost nothing actually changes.

For many it seems to have been the drop that broke the barrel: After news of a change in Whatsapp’s terms of use made the rounds, millions of people around the world downloaded one or more of the alternatives. Signal dominated the download charts, the second-placed Telegram gained 25 million new users in a very short time. No wonder that all alarm bells are ringing on Whatsapp.

The Facebook daughter was now even forced to shake off smooth with a blog post. In summary, it has a single message: Everything is a gigantic misunderstanding. With the update, only the storage of Whatsapp user data in companies has been formulated more clearly when they are contacted by Whatsapp users via the messenger. In practice, the change is unlikely to affect very few. But by then the child had already fallen into the well.

Surge of resistance

Because in the social networks various other versions had spread in no time. “We recently updated our privacy policy and received a lot of well-considered questions,” the Post tries to describe the many rumors nicely, and then quickly come to a clarification. “We want to make it clear that the policy update will have absolutely no impact on your privacy with regard to your messages to friends or family.” Whatsapp cannot eavesdrop on private messages and calls either. And the merging of the data with Facebook was not, as many claim, heralded with the change.

Whatsapp’s head of politics, Niamgh Sweeny, had the same thing in a long twitter thread already made clear. “There is no change in WhatsApp’s practice of sharing data.” The data of the European users would still not be used for the display of advertisements or the improvement of Facebook.

In the rest of the world, by the way, it wasn’t just introduced – it was years ago. For a short time in 2016 it was possible to object to the data being taken over by the parent company. Anyone who didn’t do this at the time or who signed up afterwards has already shared their data with Facebook for years outside the EU.

For Facebook, the rumors are likely to be more than annoying. The group is regularly confronted with allegations of excessive hunger for data, often rightly so. In this case, however, the suspicion – in fact probably unfounded – was enough to drive the customers to the competition in droves. No wonder that besides Sweeny, several other managers tried to justify themselves on Twitter.

Change can be useful

There are enough reasons to switch messengers anyway. Although WhatsApp has no direct access to the chats due to the end-to-end encryption, the messenger can still collect a lot of personal information about its users. The so-called metadata is almost more valuable than the chats themselves, reveals data protection expert Katharina Nocun dem stern already last year. So you can learn a lot about the networks between people from the timing, frequency and duration of conversations between people. A voice message at three at night suggests a different relationship than an occasional group call during office hours. You can find out more details and what data Whatsapp collects here.

As an alternative, privacy advocates and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden usually recommend the Signal app. Messenger, now co-financed by Whatsapp founder Brian Action, works very similarly to its competitor, but has great advantages in terms of data protection. Because the source code of the app is disclosed, you can also understand that it is not secretly collecting user data. You can find out what you need to know about the app here.

Those: Blogpost

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