Many users moved from the WhatsApp messenger platform when the app was acquired by Facebook, later the users were assured that the social media network will stop snooping the data from the instant messenger app, but that is not the case now.
Among different messenger platforms like the Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Snapchat, Kik Messenger, Viber, Line and others- WhatsApp is the widest spread instant messenger application. Users from all over the world have access to this app because of its simple interface and it satisfies the purpose of the users. The user need be a technical freak to access the app; they have to only know the basic of sending text messages. Being a simple application, the app is used by users of different age from young to old.
But a recent announcement about the messenger app will lead to the fall of the app among the users.
WhatsApp in Trouble
When Facebook acquired the messenger app in 2014, the CEO of Facebook said that the purpose of acquiring the app was to make sure
people of all community were able to connect through a common platform that offers service for free. Later, the influence of Facebook was eminently seen on WhatsApp when it launched its new features.
During the acquisition period, this was the biggest investment of the company till date and the venture capital Sequoia received fifty times its return on the initial investment. The company paid twelve billion dollars in its share and four billion dollars in cash and later added three billion dollars as restricted stock units that were given to the founders of the instant messenger app.
At a presentation in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, the CEO of Facebook said that the reason for the company to acquire the instant messenger app was to provide the basic internet connectivity to the users. He said that there are still millions of people who do not afford to buy mobile phone or internet connectivity and so by providing the consumers with free service will ensure that they are more socializing and aware of what is happening in the world.
The instant messenger app assured that the user’s information that is stored in the app will not be shared with other third parties or government organizations. Within 3 days of the acquisition, WhatsApp announced that it will release the voice call feature within few months and they had partnered with a mobile company in Germany that released smartphones with WhatsApp’s brand name.
READ MORE: Spy a Whatsapp Number from an Android Device
The Agreement Changed in Summer
The European Union at the initial stage of acquisition informed the instant messenger platform to protect its user information from sharing it with Facebook. But, all the things changed and the people using the app were unknown of the real fact that takes place because of sharing the user information.
Helen Dixon, the Data Protection Commissioner of Ireland was handling the privacy problems for the social media network in the EU. According to the Head, the committee is in agreement with Facebook and WhatsApp and they expect that the information that is provided to the users must be transparent, simple and rendered more effective.
However, it is not clear that what kind of information the companies are planning to share. But there are high chances for them to share the personal information like the mobile phone number with which the usage can be synced with the social media account. Therefore, it is easy to identify the internet activity of the user.
When the social media network is able to collect all the information about the user and their internet activity, then the company can earn more money through the advertisements that will focus on certain type of users.
When the internet activity of the user is monitored on a regular basis, then it is easy to identify the user’s behavior. By looking at their activity, the company can identify the type of thing the user is interested in and so they are provided with advertisements that they are interested in. For example, if a person is interested in the fitness related activities, then the social media track the behavior and send advertisements that are related to fitness. This way, the company can earn more money without the knowledge of the users.
All Claims Have Become False
The instant messenger platform said that privacy is in the company’s DNA and their communication service is very stringent. The company stated that it will not share any user information with the third party, but the activities that took place in the recent past seem to in the opposite way. The app promised its users with the ad-free user interface, but now the users can see that the app shows several advertisements relating to their search.
The privacy and security features of the instant messaging app are under speculation and the recent terrorist attack in London adds up to it.
A converted Muslim Khalid Masood of age 52 rode a rented Hyundai Tucson at 14:40 towards the Westminster Bridge. He came at a high speed into the crowd and killed 3 people and forty were injured, he ran towards the parliament and got out of the car and stabbed a policeman with the knife and momentarily the armed officials at the place shoot the terrorist 2 or 3 times where he fell dead.
The police said that the terrorist used WhatsApp to send and receive messages before the attack and claimed that he was not part of any terrorist group. The attack was a self-initiated plan by Masood who was radicalized by watching the propaganda of the jihadis online.
However, the police claimed that he must have had access to the instant messenger app before reaching the Westminster Bridge. This was found by the journalist who verified his mobile number and confirmed that his WhatsApp account was active. However, the police officials were unable to access the account because they are protected by the end to end encryption.
WhatsApp is a world-famous instant messaging app that comes with a lot of beneficial and interactive features to invite more users to access the app.
After being acquired by the social media network, the instant messenger platform had modified different aspects in its user interface that were both good and bad. Last year the app announced that the company would share the user information with the parent company to influence the advertisements in the News Feed.
When the third parties are able to trap user information from the app, then the question about privacy and security are at risk. Furthermore, the government organizations are asking the tech companies to leverage the security features as it becomes homage for terrorist attacks.