WhatsApp Privacy Policy- Should we or Should we not?

What is this buzz regarding WhatsApp Privacy Policy happening everywhere? Is it primarily necessary to simply accept these policies or let go of the app? These questions might be running in the mind of every WhatsApp user right now.

Facebook is the Parent company of WhatsApp and so this popular messaging app has informed its Android and iPhone users of how WhatsApp shares information with Facebook and its subsidiaries. They have asked the users to accept the policies to continue using this app. Along with how the app is going to share its collected data with its Parent company, other information like Payments, Location, phone number, service and business-related information, IP address and Transaction will also be collected by Facebook. The prior privacy policy of WhatsApp had their lines saying “Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA. Since we started WhatsApp, we have aspired to build our services with a set of strong privacy principles in mind” and “End-to-End Encrypted”. These statements gave the users proof as to their data being safe and private. However according to this new privacy policy, there is a chance of increasing reliance on other Facebook products.

The messenger application has said that the changes will not affect consumer accounts as it is only for business accounts. However, the clarification did not go down well with several users across the world and they continued to cast aspersions on the privacy policy of the app.

This updated policy has brought a lot of questions to everyone’s mind. Even though as we know its end-to-end encryption but we are yet unsure of our data being really safe or no. There are tons of other ways in which our information can be leaked out anyway. Our data and personal information that we share with our friends, family, and business partners were always on the radar of being seen by others. The Sushant Singh case had WhatsApp chats that were made public is a clear example of how chats and information can get leaked.

This updated privacy policy somewhere has helped us to realize and know what and how much details must be shared. We need to be more conscious of what we share. With the policy change now it gives a lot more clarity about whether to use the app or not and if yes then how much wisely to use it. By subscribing to social media, we have been subject to marketing depending on what we post or like and everything is inter-related to it. We know that retargeting takes place on a larger scale on social media. For instance, the shoes that you like on amazon and save them to the cart can be shown as an advertisement on Instagram to get your attention back to it. Certain things that we must keep in mind while rethinking privacy:

  • Security and privacy are closely related to each other but there is a slight difference wherein privacy is about who has your personal information and security is about how efficiently your data and information are protected.
  • We cannot openly publish our photos, share location, tag people on social media, and then worry only about our chats being shared with others. We invite such behaviour from the companies!
  • Our privacy is meant to be hidden but we are in a digital era where our life revolves around social media, so it goes without saying that our data is stored everywhere.

There is nothing new in the new privacy policy of WhatsApp. WhatsApp has been sharing user’s data with Facebook and other subsidiaries in the past. The only difference is that this time they have announced it publically to follow the rules and regulations along with the consent of each user. This will save the company from legal stalking. The company had made it clear that by 8 February, 2021 people who do not agree to this new policy might have to delete the account. Following weeks of criticism, WhatsApp has announced a delay in the implementation of a revised privacy policy. Netizens being a regular user of this messaging app has a big question mark over their privacy of information. There are other apps like Telegram, Signal, etc; that have been suggested to use.

Privacy is our right and obligation and that duty falls in our own hands. No one can question our privacy if we do it ourselves first. This is a clear indication of how important our minor details are to us. Even though this policy makes us feel that someone is intruding in our privacy but along with that, it gives us a clear information as to how much amount of information must be shared publically. WhatsApp is adhering to its rules and stating it openly about the policy which other apps might not do it. At this moment, the only thing that can be done is to act smart as there seems to be no point in deleting the app for this matter.

‘Probably Google knows way more about us than our family members’ This clearly emphasizes the use of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in this digital era. So, we must think, act, and perform astutely.

Content Credit: Pradnya Kunder

Graphics Credit: Ratnali Meshram

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