Whatsapp or not
“The update does not change WhatsApp’s data sharing practices with Facebook and does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family wherever they are in the world. WhatsApp remains deeply committed to protecting people's privacy. We are communicating directly with users through WhatsApp about these changes, so they have time to review the new policy over the course of the next month.”
I know that many have explored alternatives, particularly Signal and Telegram, as alternatives. There is research out there for choosing alternatives along with pros and cons of using each platform but the consensus seems to be that it is still early days to switch and that most businesses (in this region at least) are waiting and watching.
Kate Midttun, Managing Director, Acorn Strategy, said, “Obviously, many users are exploring alternatives in the aftermath of WhatsApp's policy updates. There's a clear concern among users about privacy, and unless WhatsApp quickly addresses these concerns, we can predict that businesses will be looking elsewhere, considering they are more affected by these updates. This morning WhatsApp issued a clarification of their policy, assuaging fears that their private messages are now monitored and shared with Facebook or other parties. Will this do it? I guess we'll have to wait and see.”
Roberto d’Ambrosio, CEO at Axiory Global, agrees. According to d’Ambrosio, the latest updates are actually an element of clarity. The way data are used, the way they are shared with other application like Messenger, Facebook, Instagram are now exposed. Users are now aware of the extent of what they share on WhatsApp is used to generate business, and this has risen concerns among many. “I believe that WhatsApp will continue to lead the sector and this cannot be ignored by business. They will still look and be present on other platforms though as there is no reason to restrict their communication strategy to WhatsApp. Still, the interaction between all Facebook related platform is a powerful combination to target the right audience for business strategies, which has no real competitors at the moment.”
Whatsapp did issue a clarification and shared their tips on security. “The safety and security of you and your messages are really important to us. However, just like regular SMS or phone calls, it’s possible for other WhatsApp users who have your phone number to contact you. We advise all users never to share their WhatsApp SMS verification code with others, not even friends or family. We also recommend that all users set up 2-step verification.”
Renjan George, Managing Director of DVCOM technologies, added, “The main thing is these privacy policies are open to interpretation as they are made by highly paid employees who make them as complex as possible to benefit the business. Unfortunately, we do not have anyone to interpret the nitty gritty. So, there will be a general wait and watch till the deadline. However there has also been some mass exodus and I think there is a strong case when it comes to sensitive business data that organisations will think of using another secure app. Personally, I will still keep WhatsApp as all my personal contacts are there but for business purposes I will be slowly migrating to a more secure platform.”
Personally, I too will wait and watch to see how insidious this data policy gets.