WhatsApp locked in many users, who became dependent on it, with the promise to protect their privacy and data. When these millions of users signed up to WhatsApp before 2014, they were promised repeatedly that the company did not want to gather and commercialize their data.
2014: Facebook acquires WhatsApp.
2016: WhatsApp changed its privacy terms to share 1 billion users’ personal information with Facebook, giving its one billion users 30 days to opt out.
Since 2016, WhatsApp has become a leading means of communication for 2 billion people across the globe. It now shares a great deal of information with Facebook it promised it never would, including account information, phone numbers, logging how often and how long someone uses WhatsApp, information about how they interact with other users, IP addresses, browser details, languages, time zones, etc. This latest incursion has highlighted just how much data sharing has been going on for years without most users’ knowledge.
WhatsApp is now a global metadata harvesting operation.
We must prevent this privacy discrimination by calling our regulators to rapidly take a stand and oppose and stop the data flows between WhatsApp and Facebook. Those who can are leaving WhatsApp in large numbers because of concerns of increasing abusive tactics. But many cannot.