This change is a common thing in the app world. However, some users were taken aback by a passage. The latter indicates that the app will now share more data with Facebook, which bought WhatsApp in 2014.
Later in the week, the messenger announces in a press release that “WhatsApp does not share the data of its users in Europe with Facebook for the purpose of Facebook using it to improve its products or advertisements.“.
However, there is a goal behind this operation, make it easier for businesses to access WhatsApp to offer purchases directly in a conversation.
But if the application denies, the users, them, worry and many questions remain unanswered. We respond to a non-exhaustive list of them.
What data will WhatsApp have access to?
The main data targeted are phone number, name and IP address. The latter makes it possible to geolocate the user.
This will allow Facebook to get to know its users even better so that it can target the ads it shows them a little more.
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However, the European Union protects us against this targeting. While these new conditions apply to the whole planet, the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR limits the possibilities for collecting information. In particular, the use of data for commercial purposes is prohibited within the EU.
Well, you don’t really have a choice. If today you do not want WhatsApp to provide more data to Facebook, your account will simply be suspended as of February 8.
Don’t panic, however, if you stick to certain conversations. They will not be deleted.
What are the alternatives to WhatsApp?
There are several of them. Some are historic and have been around for many years. These include Viber (Israel – 2010), WeChat (China – 2011) and Telegram (2013 – Russia).
But it is another that we have heard less often that sees its number of downloads explode. “Signal” appeared in 2014 in the United States. His strong point compared to others? Encryption of the data it uses. Proof, the European Commission recommends the use of Signal to its staff for communication with people outside the institution.
►►► Read also : New WhatsApp rules: the secure Signal app tops downloads on Apple Store and Google Play
Faced with a huge influx of new users, Signal saw its servers saturate at the end of last week. An issue resolved since then.
Many personalities have also started to use the Signal application. We can cite in particular Edward Snowden, American whistleblower who revealed the existence of mass surveillance programs in the United States and Great Britain.
Elon Musk, the very famous boss of Tesla also called on his followers to download Signal.
Why is Signal telling me which contacts are also using the app?
Some users are concerned about this feature present in Signal. However, the WhatsApp application offered the same possibility, that of seeing which of our contacts are using messaging. This lets you know who you can chat with.
To provide this possibility, the application regularly sends encrypted requests to your contact list. Without having access to names, it simply focuses on numbers that correspond to registered users. As soon as the information comes back, Signal offers you in the application your contacts who have an account on the messaging system.
Signal also specifies that this data remains stored on the user’s phone and not on servers.
Ok, what about Telegram? It is good too ?
As explained above, Telegram is a chatting application created in Russia in 2013. It is a little older than Signal but was mostly much better known until the exodus to Signal last week.
But unlike the latter, Telegram is much less transparent. Its source code (a text which presents the instructions composing a program in a readable form), is indeed well kept. The Signal one is available to everyone, which makes it possible to verify that it is well constructed and that no flaws exist.
►►► Read also : Telegram messaging to launch paid services in 2021
The encryption of the two applications is also not the same. At Signal, it’s end-to-end. This means that the message is encrypted from sender to recipient. To obtain this possibility at Telegram, it is necessary to activate a “secret chat” option. Otherwise, the messages sent will not be secure.
When it comes to usage, Signal and Telegram are almost similar. These are the details that will set them apart. Discussion groups are for example limited to 1000 members for the first, 200,000 for the second. Telegram also offers to create a pseudonym for chatting, which is not possible elsewhere.
I am already on Messenger, Instagram and Facebook, what is the difference with these applications?
The difference is played out in the application’s promise. When it was founded in 2009, WhatsApp offered an end-to-end encrypted messaging service. It is a form of encryption that prevents anyone from intercepting your messages.
Also, unlike Facebook or Instagram, not everyone can contact you. You must have your phone number to send you a message.
►►► Read also : Should we regulate Facebook, Twitter, etc. in Europe? Washington insurgency could convince
The problem is that this promise of confidentiality is now broken. Already damaged by the takeover of messaging in 2014 by Facebook, trust is now broken for many users.
It is with this in mind that they are turning to the aforementioned applications, which offer a messaging service relatively identical to that which WhatsApp was in its infancy, in complete independence.
As she points out on a Q&A topic on Reddit, the Signal app is “a non-profit entity, so that it can never be bought, has no investors and is not ‘owned’ by anyone.” It should therefore not suffer the same fate as WhatsApp.
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