WhatsApp Sparks the Privacy Debate, But Is That All There Is?

The world is not where she used to be, thanks to technology, with every passing year and technological advancement, though, there seems to be the monkey’s paw at play. Of course, we are getting a better quality of life – but what are we giving in return? Most of the time, that is the very privacy that we should be fighting to hold onto.

The constant attack on user privacy by the big tech firms has been going unnoticed for some time now. More user awareness on the topic has stirred up consciousness and these tech firms cannot do as they used to anymore. 

But then, that does not mean some backhanded processes are not going on in the background.

WhatsApp Opens the Privacy Debate

The year 2021 was off to a slow start in some quarters before WhatsApp decided to break the ice. The Facebook-owned company has been making moves to let users know where it is coming from for a while now. One of such moves is with the total rebranding of the app such that users now see the ‘from Facebook’ tag anytime they launch the app on their devices.

To cement the parent company’s hold, WhatsApp’s new privacy policy hinted at sharing user data with Facebook. This means that even WhatsApp users who did not have a Facebook account will have their data shared back to the parent company.

The issue here is what kind of data will be shared. Knowing Facebook and the fair share of privacy issues that have plagued them in the past, it is not totally out of place to assume the worst here. Little wonder Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp, left the brand after he could not stand some of the privacy policies that Facebook was starting to implement.

Fortunately, we are not stuck with only WhatsApp. Other amazing IM options on the market keep the user very safe. Of these, we have;
  • Viber
  • Telegram
  • IMessage
  • Signal and
  • Threema, among others.

Other Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy

If you thought that instant messaging apps like WhatsApp are the only ones out for your data, then you are wrong. Almost every app you interact with – especially if such apps interact with the internet too – is out for your data.

This does not mean you should take yourself back to the cavemen era, though. Following tips as simple as the ones below will keep you better secured whenever you’re online:

  • Use safe browsers. Consider options like Tor, Mozilla Firefox, Brave browser, Chromium, etc.
  • Download and install a VPN app to encrypt all of your internet data when online.
  • Never connect to free/ public WiFi networks.
  • Always choose secure and reliable passwords. Enable 2FA where possible.
  • Monitor your accounts for breaches.

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