Privacy policy of WhatsApp: Why would you worry?

Applications Contributor
Privacy policy
© Jayant Bahel |

Currently, both users and content makers of WhatsApp have been shaken up quite a bit.The obvoius reason being the recent situation that arose from the concern around the new privacy policy that WhatsApp elected. But what is really going on here? Has Facebook crossed yet another line in regards to user privacy through their daughter platform?

Well, the situation is no doubt ambiguous. This recent update quickly began to raise a lot of concern and scepticism in the WhatsApp user base and not without reason. But why are the users so troubled?

Essentially, the update states that for WhatsApp users who own Facebook accounts, from now on their WhatsApp data will be shared with Facebook. If however, users don’t agree to this new policy by February 8th, they will simply lose access to their account. Now although it’s true that this technical possibility existed within WhatsApp since the very start, only now has Facebook decided to leave its users in an inescapable strait between the two mega-platforms.

Privacy policy and encryption

Talking about the privacy policy, WhatsApp hurries to disclose that all conversations still remain end-to-end encrypted. That means, no essential user information is being shared. It’s just an update “to help operate” they say, specifying that the data being sent back and forth consists notably of browser information, time zone, IP address and some other lesser details.

Now it’s clear that this data has the potential to be utilised for the purpose of improving platform marketing. More personalised advertisements and other threats to personal security will certainly become a reality via this partage of data between two of the biggest messaging platforms in the world. For reference, in 2021 FaceBook’s user base is around 2.7 billion and WhatsApp’s just over 2 billion.

Previous threat encounter

Though this information, in terms of its applicability, still might remain in an embryonic state for a while, there is no guarantee that it won’t be used in the future. In line with foreseeable future policies, it certainly has the potential to become a much greater threat.

Indeed over the recent decade, Facebook has faced an array of privacy-related problems with its users. With the hardly faded memory of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in their minds, it comes with no surprise that the user base can’t help but feel insecurity vis-à-vis this manoeuvre.

Options with ensured security

Many activists around the world, most notably Elon Musk, have been urging the population to redirect themselves to open source platforms, or at least those with better cybersecurity such as Telegram, Signal or in-browser Chat options that highly value user-privacy.

With privacy policy becoming an increasing concern for internet dwellers, this might have been the last straw for Facebook, whose reputation was already hanging by a thread. The large availability of more than reasonable chatting and social-media platforms, WhatsApp and by extension Facebook, have certainly forced themselves into dire straits.

Towards a safer internet

Indubitably, the updateof WhatsApp’s privacy policy was an attempt to monetise the daughter platform and bring it into Facebook’s global ecosystem. Although, the general intention was questionable enough for Zuckerberg to be pushed onto even thiner ice. For many, this is a great opportunity to turn the page and move onto a safer internet experience. Thus now, nothing short of a miracle will help bring WhatsApp and Facebook back to their former glory.


(Written by Hussein Al Bahir)

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