Even if you don’t follow tech news, you may have heard the controversy kicking off with WhatsApp recently making changes to their privacy policy. Maybe you know what all the fuss is about, maybe you don’t, but I’ve done my own research into what this means for consumers like us and what I speculate the future of WhatsApp and messaging platforms will become.

Firstly, what do the recent changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy mean? What can they now do? Why is everyone going mad and switching platforms? Well as you may now know WhatsApp has been owned by Facebook since 2014. Facebook has already been a controversial platform for allowing several data breaches to occur and being part of the Edward Snowden whistleblow case, where a Facebook app stole user’s personal data to influence the 2013 US election. The recent changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy mainly outline what data they collect from you in a more transparent manner. This data includes your IP address, phone number, who you send messages to and who sends you messages. The data they collect does not include the content of your messages, calls or video calls.

So why are people suddenly ditching WhatsApp for other messaging solutions like Signal? Well due to what I was saying about Facebook not being trusted by many people for its checkered past regarding personal data usage, this recent change may have been the nail in the coffin for those on the fence. Also, many users of WhatsApp were alerted to this privacy policy update by a popup inside the app threatening that their account will be disabled if they did not click accept. Additionally, a Tweet put out by Elon Musk after WhatsApp announced the changes urged users to switch to a more trusted non-Facebook messaging platform Signal. Moreover, a number of fake news was spread at the time of the policy update being announced stating that WhatsApp would be able to read your messages and/or listen to your calls and video calls.

I believe that all these events led to users abandoning ship on WhatsApp and the rise in alternative platform downloads such as Signal and Telegram. So is WhatsApp dead in the water now? Personally, I don’t think so. WhatsApp have already tried to jump in with an infographic, along with an article that states exactly what the changes concern and have pulled the breaks on disabling accounts who haven’t accepted in an attempt to rescue themselves. I do think the damage is done, but I don’t think that it will kill WhatsApp for good. People will simply use WhatsApp in addition to the more user-trusted counterparts like Signal, using the former for conversations deemed “less secure”. I think that is the best move in my opinion and I myself have been doing so. However, you should always think twice about what you send across the Internet. With data breaches being so common (it isn’t as simple as “securing” the systems powering these platforms like most people think) you should ask yourself the question “what if this got leaked”. If you have any doubt, you probably shouldn’t be posting it.

This post has been slightly different, so I hope you enjoyed my views and rantings on this hot topic tech news.

Thanks for reading!