Users everywhere were shocked to hear WhatsApp's recent decision to share user information with its parent company, Facebook. This was especially surprising considering earlier promises by the company to never show ads or harvest data, reported The Independent. In fact, the company went as far as to ridicule the idea on its blog in 2012:
"Advertising isn't just the disruption of aesthetics, the insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought," read the post on WhatsApp's site.
"At every company that sells ads, a significant portion of their engineering team spends their day tuning data mining, writing better code to collect all your personal data, upgrading the servers that hold all the data and making sure it's all being logged and collated and sliced and packaged and shipped out."
Yet, fast forward four years and WhatsApp is not only rolling out plans to show marketing within the app, it is going to use data from existing customers to help Facebook improve its marketing efforts.
This will even include opening up the customer data pool for Facebook family companies, including VR firm Oculus Rift, another Facebook acquisition, and photo-sharing network Instagram, explained TechCrunch.
To many, this marks the first step for Facebook to make money off the acquisition of WhatsApp. Unfortunately, it could be only the first move of many to come.
A change to terms and conditions
This switch in policy obviously called for some serious revisions to WhatsApp's terms and conditions. While many people accept terms and conditions without a second glance, the ample coverage of this shift for the messaging app has a lot of users thinking twice.
WhatsApp has included an opt-out option for users. However, according to TechCrunch, opting out of the data sharing does not really 100 per cent stop the information from going to Facebook.
What users are really being offered is a partial opt-out where members can choose to avoid the Facebook ad targeting and product-related purposes. Yet the company asserts they will share data, regardless of opting in or out, in order to improve infrastructure, streamline delivery systems and track usage.
Essentially, there is no real way to stop WhatsApp from using your data completely unless you stop using the application altogether.
SafeSwiss' commitment to privacy
Under the new terms and conditions, WhatsApp will share users' phone numbers and reveal information about when they use the service.
The requirement by WhatsApp to provide a mobile number for verification has been a security flaw from the start, but sharing this information with Facebook only heightens the potential for the misuse of this data. Consider the recent hijack of Telegram messenger, in which thousands of Iranian users had their mobile information compromised due to a similar setup process.
At SafeSwiss, we believe that every human has a basic fundamental right to privacy.
"At SafeSwiss, we believe that every human has a basic fundamental right to privacy," explained SafeSwiss CEO and Co-Founder Tim Gallagher.
"When you sign up to SafeSwiss, it's your choice to supply [your] phone number or email address, and unlike [with] most other secure messaging services, this is not a prerequisite. Our platform is not just another secure text chat message provider - it's your complete secure communications platform."
Whether you are sending texts, pictures, voice messages or making a phone call, SafeSwiss ensures you are protected. To find out more about what our application has to offer, give the free app a try today!