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ArsTechnica: WhatsApp gives users an ultimatum: Share data with Facebook or stop using the app

smorgasbird

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WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messenger that claims to have privacy coded into its DNA, is giving its 2 billion plus users an ultimatum: agree to share their personal data with the social network or delete their accounts.

The requirement is being delivered through an in-app alert directing users to agree to sweeping changes in the WhatsApp terms of service. Those who don’t accept the revamped privacy policy by February 8 will no longer be able to use the app.

...


In 2016, WhatsApp gave users a one-time ability to opt out of having account data turned over to Facebook. Now, an updated privacy policy is changing that. Come next month, users will no longer have that choice. Some of the data that WhatsApp collects includes:
  • User phone numbers
  • Other people’s phone numbers stored in address books
  • Profile names
  • Profile pictures and
  • Status message including when a user was last online
  • Diagnostic data collected from app logs
Under the new terms, Facebook reserves the right to share collected data with its family of companies.

Facebook is also currently being sued by the FTC for anticompetitive conduct.

The FTC is seeking a permanent injunction in federal court that could, among other things: require divestitures of assets, including Instagram and WhatsApp; prohibit Facebook from imposing anticompetitive conditions on software developers; and require Facebook to seek prior notice and approval for future mergers and acquisitions.

The complaint alleges that, by 2012, WhatsApp had emerged as the clear global “category leader” in mobile messaging. Again, according to the complaint, Facebook chose to buy an emerging threat rather than compete, and announced an agreement in February 2014 to acquire WhatsApp for $19 billion. Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp allegedly both neutralizes the prospect that WhatsApp itself might threaten Facebook’s personal social networking monopoly and ensures that any future threat will have a more difficult time gaining scale in mobile messaging.

WhatsApp is very hard to go without in many parts of the world. Literally everyone I know where I live uses it and even some who have now moved to other countries and other continents still use it. The data collected in this new un-privacy policy is pretty extensive and I fear I might be forced to accept it.
 
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SJRB

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It was only a matter of time, honestly. Doubt too many people care enough to transition to Telegram, unfortunately.
 

Skyfox

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I'm not on Facebook. I'd like to use WhatsApp as I've received intense ongoing pressure from friends and family to use it. When I researched WhatsApp I concluded that it was not safe and have tried to explain it to them for years.

They'll probably click this privacy notice without even seeing the word Facebook.
 

lyra-ixi

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Aug 3, 2014
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Yeah. I'd love it if I could convince everyone else to stop using it, but they won't, and I am obligated to stay in touch with these people. I wasn't really disagreeing with you. I don't have a problem with discipline, e.g. I quit benzodiazepines by myself.
you can keep in touch with people in other ways. whatsapp isn't the only way of communicating. people at my work keep saying "i'll send it to you on whatsapp" "i don't have it" and that's it. i find another way to get shit done.

there is no excuse to use facebook services. be the change you want to see.
 

lyra-ixi

13 year old console warrior. Put me on ignore.
Aug 3, 2014
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My school has Whatsapp groups where they provide us exam dates, important details, assignments which would be given in the class if not for the pandemic. Can't always avoid this shit.
so? tell them you don't use it and they'll need to get in touch with you another way.
 

Soodanim

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You’re fighting a losing battle if you think you can convince everyone you know, most of them Facebook users anyway, to either install a new app just for you or to go back to old text messages that lack the convenience of modern technology.

You can’t even deny the app privileges, I just disabled contacts on iOS and lost all contact names.
 
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notseqi

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Jun 15, 2020
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I can't stop using it due to ease of communication but it's great that I'm seeing more and more people switch to Telegram.
Hope they won't allow sharing info in the EU anyways but companies gonna company, of course they're doing it.

Can't imagine facebook remaining as influential in the coming years, wonder what shady shit they'll be coming up with.
 

Cyberpunkd

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WhatsApp is very hard to go without in many parts of the world. Literally everyone I know where I live uses it and even some who have now moved to other countries and other continents still use it.
Is there any reason why you can't use service such as Skype or Telegram that is not 'I don't want to' or 'I'm too lazy'? FYI I have a barebones FB account I did not log into in the past 5 years. I am simply old enough (36) to see very little value in social media. Most of my contacts with my family are through dedicated Dropbox folder where my parents can see the photos and videos of their grandchildren.

I think much more dangerous think is Google's virtual monopoly when it comes to business tools - in the last 4 companies I worked at we used GSuite. Also 90% of the tools I use for work (CRM, etc.) integrate exclusively with Google products and sometimes Outlook, nothing else.
 
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Breakage

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I've never used it, but it's the go-to messaging app for many people here in the UK.
 

TheCockatrice

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No matter what app you change the end result will be the same. Why do you care so much about some statistical data that wup sends to fb? Afraid the chinese will hack your income? News flash, every app you ever used has sent data. Ever received targeted and personal ads? Well I got news for you.
 
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It was a big red flag when an Instrgram founder bailed in 2018 when Facebook decided to merge all of its products and data.

No matter what app you change the end result will be the same. Why do you care so much about some statistical data that wup sends to fb? Afraid the chinese will hack your income? News flash, every app you ever used has sent data. Ever received targeted and personal ads? Well I got news for you.
It's more than statistical data. It's audio, images, and messages these companies cache and have access to. Of course, the user has to provide this data in the first place. But I agree it's getting harder to avoid it when Amazon Echo/Alexa is installed in everything, even a new car.
 
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manfestival

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Yeah this sucks. I travel to South America pretty often and Whatsapp is basically full integrated in so many places. Store signs basically have their whatsapp numbers and etc. I don't want to lose contact with my friends and all of this. Granted I use Facebook already and it is a meh thing personally. Just know it is really lame for them to force this integration and that it can end up being problematic.
 
Aug 28, 2019
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I never let apps access my actual Address Book, including WhatsApp.

So all WhatsApp gets from me is the nick-names I give my friends, which I change and make kinda random and don't make them my friends forum usernames or anything direct like that.

And that fits their privacy policy; you don't HAVE to give WhatsApp access to your actual phone contact list.

But... Facebook already knows my name and phone number, as it does for most people.. because most people gave it to them lol.. and Facebook already knows who my friends are for the most part, as.. they are my Facebook friends lol..
 
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smorgasbird

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I never let apps access my actual Address Book, including WhatsApp.

So all WhatsApp gets from me is the nick-names I give my friends, which I change and make kinda random and don't make them my friends forum usernames or anything direct like that.

And that fits their privacy policy; you don't HAVE to give WhatsApp access to your actual phone contact list.

But... Facebook already knows my name and phone number, as it does for most people.. because most people gave it to them lol.. and Facebook already knows who my friends are for the most part, as.. they are my Facebook friends lol..

Hopefully they won't update it to require address book access then.
 
Aug 28, 2019
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Hopefully they won't update it to require address book access then.

Well if they did then the app would stop working and I wouldn't use it.

Lot of people don't pay attention to privacy notices though, so click "yes" and the entirety of their address book gets uploaded to Facebook.

You share your info with anyone, it's bound to get uploaded. The trick then is to realize that anywhere you use that phone number, someone will be able to associate that activity with "you" no matter how anonymously you make that purchase / register that account / do whatever it is that caused you to have to provide your number.

At this point that's more what people have in control of privacy wise; don't use your real phone number any place you feel you can get away with providing a fake one.
 

YCoCg

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The problem is convincing people to move to another app, what's better? Signal or Telegram? Which one stands the best chance of transitioning WhatsApp users?
 
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lock2k

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you can keep in touch with people in other ways. whatsapp isn't the only way of communicating. people at my work keep saying "i'll send it to you on whatsapp" "i don't have it" and that's it. i find another way to get shit done.

there is no excuse to use facebook services. be the change you want to see.
My company uses it. I can't quit. I could only quit if they had an alternative.

If it was only used for recreational stuff I would have deleted it already.
 
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Soodanim

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The problem is convincing people to move to another app, what's better? Signal or Telegram? Which one stands the best chance of transitioning WhatsApp users?
Telegram is functionally very similar to WhatsApp. But it’s blue instead of green.