The biggest story in tech world over the past 24 hours remains the jaw-dropping $19b deal as WhatsApp decided to sell its messaging platform to Facebook; we reported this last year in a blog post. This came with lots of mixed reactions from users and observers, and the number one question people are asking is whether there’s still going to be any form of privacy.
Facebook treats users private data like their property and this is a major problem a lot of people have with the company. This deal has struck fear into the hearts of users who are simply worried about privacy and even worse, the likely outcome of Facebook integration with WhatsApp. Like a user said on Facebook, “Facebook buys Whatsapp.The mere thought of receiving Candy Crush requests on WhatsApp terrifies the soul inside me.”
With about 450 million active users, any company would like to buy the platform, and considering the fact that Facebook doesn’t have much mobile presence except for its messenger app, it was indeed a smart move for the social network. But on the other hand, it’s a nightmare for users. Google allegedly showed interest in buying the messaging platform but got turned down on several occasions.
What about your privacy?
A number of people deleted their WhatsApp account today and I personally witnessed a friend who is a WhatsApp contact deleting his account before uninstalling the app. Personally, I believe Facebook already knows too much about me and adding my contact lists and WhatsApp messages to their data mine makes me feel rather uncomfortable. Throughout the day, I found myself choosing to connect with people through BBM instead of WhatsApp like I used to. Something just doesn’t feel right about the acquisition.
There are privacy concerns and if Facebook changes WhatsApp’s simplicity, modifies its terms and conditions or proceed to include Facebook contacts integration, lots of people might consider using alternative messaging platforms.
If you haven’t thought about it, you probably should. This deal means more than it looks and in actual fact, it opens WhatsApp to NSA and GHCQ surveillance. This may already be going on but it becomes even more worrisome to a lot of people now that Facebook is involved.
“Currently, Whatsapp can change terms and conditions at any time, without notifying users, which many people who use this service aren’t aware of. Meanwhile, Facebook already has a very broad copyright licence on people’s content and already shares your data with many other services,” said St John Deakins, CEO of Citizenme.
“Now with Facebook buying Whatsapp, this could see more and more private information becoming part of Facebook’s database. From a personal data standpoint, this is extremely worrying.”