WhatsApp Scare and Signal

Tech journalism gets a lot of things wrong, including alarming people of WhatsApp new privacy policies. I’m glad Shira from NYT did a bit more honest reporting. Let’s talk about this for a minute.

Shira opens with an explination that is spot on:

“WhatsApp’s policies changed cosmetically and not in ways that give Facebook more data. The bottom line is that Facebook already collects a lot of information from what people do on WhatsApp.”

Scanning the new policy, I got the usual goosebumps I get whenever I read these kind of policies telling me what they can do with my data. But nothing unexpected there. Nothing new. WhatsApp is owned by Facebook. Facebook livlihood has always been sucking its users' data dry and selling to the highest bidder whithout getting caught, or getting caught to the point of managable damamge control. And when you’re a multi-billion dollar company, manageble damage control can be almost anything.

Shira lays out the information WhatsApp has on its users from an article originally published in 2016:

“WhatsApp won’t share messages that people write or who is messaging who, but it will share people’s phone numbers as well as analytics information, like how often they open the app, their operating system, screen resolution, and their mobile carrier. That information could be used by Facebook to, for example, target people with ads and make friend recommendations.”