WhatsApp has a strange way of appeasing its users. The embattled social messaging platform is forcing a change in terms on its users after its data-collecting practices were learned. It followed this by threatening its users, then recently clarified what it means. Does this WhatsApp threat really mean that users’ accounts will be deleted if they don’t accept the new terms?
WhatsApp’s struggles began when Apple’s new iOS 14 feature came to light. It is now requiring all apps in the App Store to disclose what data they collect from users and how they intend to use it.
Facebook, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, fought having its data collection practices outed. It was to no avail.
Once WhatsApp’s data collection practices eventually came to light, users were upset and threatened to move to one of the social messaging app’s competitors.
Users started scoping out other apps, such as Telegram, Signal, and iMessage. With Apple causing this backlash to begin with and Facebook going on the attack, CEO Mark Zuckerberg attacked iMessage specifically.
“I want to highlight that we increasingly see Apple as one of our biggest competitors,” said Zuckerberg. “iMessage is a key linchpin of their ecosystem – which is why iMessage is the most used messaging service in the U.S.”
He also misled the public about iMessage’s practices. “iMessage stores non-end-to-end encrypted backups of your messages by default unless you disable iCloud. … I think that WhatsApp is clearly superior.” ,
This is not true, but that didn’t stop Zuckerberg. And iMessage isn’t WhatsApp’s true competitor, as it’s limited to Apple users only. Signal isn’t really a worthy competitor, so the service picking up most of WhatsApp’s defectors is Telegram, yet it doesn’t have the security WhatsApps does. The users who are threatening to leave and switch to Telegram because they are upset about data protection aren’t really ending up with more security.
WA Change to Terms and Threat
WhatsApp announced last month it was issuing privacy changes and noted that users will be required to accept the terms. It promised to give users plenty of time to go over the terms and that it would never delete accounts.
These privacy changes are mostly financial, so may not have the impact users are feairng. Yet, some users were leaving anyway.
WhatsApp then announced more recently that it will be, in a roundabout way, deleting user accounts. “WhatsApp will not delete your accounts,” it said. “However, you won’t have full functionality of WhatsApp until you accept.” With accounts being forced to have limited functionality, they may become inactive. Amd apps are deleted after 120 days of inactivity.”
The social messaging app also made excuses for its data collection, noting that the other apps “say they’re better because they know even less information than WhatsApp – we believe people are looking for apps to be both reliable and safe, even if that requires WhatsApp having some limited data.”
The biggest question is how these more recent statements will affect users. WhatsApp lost users already, but there are still many who are hanging in there. Will they continue to stay in light of the WhatsApp threat? Read on to learn about four WhatsApp alternatives that do a better job with privacy.