Facebook tells WhatsApp users its data collection isn't so bad

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,905   +760
Staff member
In context: Facebook is in the middle is another PR crisis since unveiling its expanded data collection policies for WhatsApp last week. The rules are par for the course as Facebook is concerned. In a nutshell, you can use its product as long as you let it collect data from you to sell to advertisers—however, the way it was presented sparked outrage.

The pop-up notifications that Facebook used to inform users of the policy changes sounded like what many are calling "an ultimatum."

"By tapping Agree, you accept the new terms and privacy policy, which take effect on February 8, 2021," the notice reads. "After this date, you'll need to accept these updates to continue using WhatsApp. You can also visit the Help Center if you would prefer to delete your account and would like more information."

In 2016, about two years after Facebook acquired WhatsApp, it had a similar policy change, but it allowed users to opt-out of the data collection and sharing with third parties. There is no such provision this time, so if users do not agree, they lose access to their account and any archived messages they may have saved.

The move has already pushed many users away from the platform. A day after the notices began appearing, rival messaging app Signal reported it was having difficulties keeping up with the influx of new users.

There are many layers to the onion of anger that users and privacy groups are expressing. However, Facebook's damage control team latched on to one aspect of it and effectively dismissed the uproar as if it were solely based on rumors.

"We want to address some rumors and be 100% clear we continue to protect your private messages with end-to-end encryption," it said via the official WhatsApp Twitter account.

The post included an infographic (above) listing several items that the app does not collect, notably mentioning that Facebook/WhatsApp cannot read your private messages. For a messaging app that touts end-to-end encryption, this is a bit like a child getting caught feeding his dinner to the dog and then saying, "Well, I didn't get into the cookie jar." It is rather irrelevant and has little to do with why users are upset.

It is also interesting that Facebook took the time to create a concise and straightforward illustration of the data it does not collect, yet it has not done the same for the actual policy changes. Instead, users must navigate a 5,264-word Terms of Service page and a 3,879-word Privacy Policy.

Ultimately, knowing what they agree to is the users' responsibility. Nevertheless, Facebook's attempt to quell the backlash by waving a flag at what it does not do while hiding what it does do behind legalese is not helping its situation.

Image credit: DenPhotos

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 4,704   +5,104
My 30-day Facebook ban ends at 8PM. Now that the Election, Electoral College meeting and MAGA riots are over, I'll be right back online in time for January 20th.

I honestly hate Facebook censorship (although I know they have the right to do it) and I want alternatives, but now that I see that "political violence" can be used as a pretext to literally "shut down everything" from the app store all the way to the comment sections, I can see we're left with just two choices.

Either play ball or not use these "services" at all.

I use WhatsApp and I post stuff (video clips) on Whatsapp that I could never post on Facebook.

I really miss the Good Ole Days of AOL Instant Messenger.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 1,441   +1,040
I’m avoiding Facebook not because of the specific data they collect but because I do not want that entity to profit from the sale of any of my data. Everything collects data on you, windows, iOS, Android, websites, even games do, you’d be a fool to only avoid Facebook because you don’t want anyone to collect and sell data on your digital behaviour. These organisations hold huge responsibilities with running of these enormous, international social domains and currently I’m not too happy with what this corpo is doing with it.
 

NeoMorpheus

Posts: 401   +760
I really miss the Good Ole Days of AOL Instant Messenger.

I am still "surprised" as to how we abandoned all kinds of open standards to jump into walled gardens.

Funny enough, the walled gardens are really action like gold cages.
 

terzaerian

Posts: 766   +1,096
I am still "surprised" as to how we abandoned all kinds of open standards to jump into walled gardens.

Funny enough, the walled gardens are really action like gold cages.
Technically, AOL was one of the first walled gardens of the internet age, people just didn't know better at the time
 

NeoMorpheus

Posts: 401   +760
Lets see:

1- They dont charge to use.
2- They have billions of people hammering those servers all the time.
3- They paid a boatload of money for it.
4- They also paid a boatload of money for servers and employees to maintain those servers.
5- Wheres the profit?

Yeah, they are harvesting data somewhere.

Signal it is.
 

Privery

Posts: 106   +59
Do you know the new iPhone 12 can be jailbroken? Well, with *crystal_hacker* on Instagram and *+44 7520 648089* on WhatsApp/Telegram, I was able to get through my husband's iPhone12 without getting close to his phone. I read everything he has on this phone, right on my phone. wow I was surprised and still surprised that this worked, it all felt like a dream but this hacker is the real deal
A bot I'm guessing
 

koblongata

Posts: 400   +218
FB should just focus on VR, selling headsets and games, trading user privacy for ad revenue is not going to end well, and they are now even tying VR to it, this really raised so much concern even I really like Quest, I believe it will sell much better if there aren't any privacy concerns.
 
Lets see:

1- They dont charge to use.
2- They have billions of people hammering those servers all the time.
3- They paid a boatload of money for it.
4- They also paid a boatload of money for servers and employees to maintain those servers.
5- Wheres the profit?

Yeah, they are harvesting data somewhere.

Signal it is.

I believe Acton has confirmed they intend to use a subscription model beginning this year..given the volume of increased users / continued popularity, so a buck a month etc which id personally be happy to pay than hand over my entire life history, and those of my contacts.
 

NeoMorpheus

Posts: 401   +760
I believe Acton has confirmed they intend to use a subscription model beginning this year..given the volume of increased users / continued popularity, so a buck a month etc which id personally be happy to pay than hand over my entire life history, and those of my contacts.

I would gladly pay a reasonable price for all the services I use.

I'm sure that billions of users paying1 dollar a year should provide enough money to survive.