Today I have decided to ditch WhatsApp – the messaging app I used to use in favor of Wire and Signal Private Messengers and I request you to do the same. Let’s all switch from WhatsApp Messenger to either Signal Private Messenger or Wire Private Messenger.
The main reasons why I’m quitting WhatsApp Messenger is that they monitor their users activity, sell our data and they are not secure. Though they have implemented end-to-end encryption a few months back, I’m still skeptic of using their services.
Since they are owned by Facebook, I’m even more afraid of using WhatsApp any longer. Facebook spies on you and sells your data to advertisers for money by displaying targeted ads on your timeline and many other places. Have a look at The Disconcerting Details: How Facebook Teams Up With Data Brokers to Show You Targeted Ads by EFF to get a better understanding on how Facebook actually mints money off your data. Even worse, Facebook spies on you even when you are logged out!
To be honest, you can never really log out of Facebook. here’s an article on Gawker supporting this claim. Now here’s three good reasons which made me quit WhatsApp once and forever –
Reason 1 – Data Sharing with Facebook
Quite sometime back WhatsApp rolled out an update which stated that they will be sharing the user data with Facebook and its group of companies to improve Facebook advertising and product experiences. What they mean by this is, they will be snooping over your messages to find what you are talking about and then they will use this data to display targeted ads to you when you are logged into Facebook or when you visit any site which has partnered up with Facebook ads. Literally, they will be shoving targeted ads down your throat and making money off your time spent on Facebook.
Fortunately, you can opt out from the Facebook-WhatsApp data sharing easily. Here’s how:
- Open WhatsApp on your phone.
- On Android, tap the action overflow button in the upper right corner and select Settings. On iOS, tap the Settings tab in the lower right corner.
- Select Account.
- Tap the check mark to the right of Share my account info.
- To disable the feature, tap Don’t Share.
Reason 2 – Collection of Meta Data
Though end-to-end encryption is now actively implemented on WhatsApp, they can still track your activities. What I mean by track is, though they will not be able to read or decrypt what you have sent or received, they can still know whom you have interacted with and for how long. For example, WhatsApp can see that you chatted with your friend for an hour, with your boyfriend or girlfriend all night, called your dad or mom and spoke for a few minutes blah blah blah, etc but they won’t know what you spoke about. They collect this meta data and use it for various purposes. Since they collect everyone’s meta data, they can connect the dots and make something worth their business out of it.
If you still think meta data ain’t much of a concern for you, read why metadata matters by Kurt Opsahl.
Reason 3 – Encryption Issues & Proprietary Software
The android version of WhatsApp offers users the facility to backup their chats and media to Google Drive but it is debated that these backups are not encrypted while getting backed up to the Cloud. Therefore, it is an easy way to access user’s message history. Moreover, WhatsApp is a closed-source proprietary app, which means all the meta data and your chat messages are owned by them – they own your messages, not you!
Thus these three reasons contributed to the main factor in me quitting WhatsApp.
If you are that type of guy who says you don’t care about privacy and all those nonsense, you should definitely –
- Watch Glenn Greenwald’s TED talk on why privacy matters.
- Read Quincy Larson’s article about how to encrypt your life in less than an hour.
- Read Fábio Esteves’s post to understand why you should care.
- And here’s more on why encryption is a human right by Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Amul Kalia.