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INAI Unravels WhatsApp's New Privacy Policy

By MBN Staff | Wed, 01/13/2021 - 15:25

Last Thursday, WhatsApp asked its more than 2 billion users to accept a new privacy policy. It did not take long for criticism toward the social network to emerge. Those who did not accept these new rules, the app stated, will no longer be allowed to use the service after Feb. 8.

The updates read that WhatsApp will now share information with other Facebook companies for advertising purposes, even if users do or do not have a social network account. According to Statista's data, until the beginning of 2020 WhatsApp was used by 77 million users in Mexico. People between the ages of 18 and 24 use this messaging platform the most. 

In response to users' concerns, the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Personal Data Protection (INAI) explained yesterday in a statement that the new privacy conditions will allow Facebook to share information with other companies and thus create personalized ads on its platforms. However, the institute pointed out, “security measures to protect shared information are not clearly defined.”

Among the points highlighted by NACI is that the new policy will allow the application to access data such as the telephone number of its contacts. Also, in case of using payment services, purchases or other financial transactions, WhatsApp will handle additional information such as payment method, shipment details and amount. 

“(The new privacy policy) is basically the same as it has always been: one that allows you to transfer personal data to Facebook and its entire network of companies, just like Google or Telcel,” said José Soto Galindo in an opinion piece for El Economista. “Users were complaining on social media and threatening to leave WhatsApp, as if they did not know, first, that WhatsApp belongs to Facebook, the largest personal data extractor on the planet, and second, that when a product is free, like WhatsApp, it is actually because the users are the product,” Galindo added. 

Yesterday, Telegram Founder Pável Dúrov said on his app channel that about 25 million users had registered to the platform in the last 72 hours. “25 million new users joined Telegram in the last 72 hours alone. People no longer want to exchange their privacy for free services,” he said, adding that its platform has become “the largest refuge” for users looking for a private and secure communication platform. Meanwhile, rival Signal was also downloaded 8.8 million times just a week after WhatsApp announced its policy changes, according to data from Sensor Towers. On Jan. 7, Elon Musk tweeted “Use Signal,” which also prompted its boom. WhatsApp, on the other hand, saw a 14 percent decrease in its downloads worldwide last week.

Facebook’s messaging app said on Monday in a statement that its policy update “does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way”.

Photo by:   AARN GIRI, Unsplash
MBN Staff MBN Staff MBN staff