The deserting of the app is happening around the world with millions of people already switching to competitors in the past week according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower. The move is to monetize WhatsApp and allow it to finally make money. Businesses will be able to contact their clients via the platform and sell products directly to them.
WhatsApp currently has over 2 billion users worldwide but this recent move has sent Signal to the top of both Apple and Google's app stores for downloads.
Elon Musk even endorsed the Signal app over WhatsApp on his Twitter account on Thursday and his tween was shared over 57,000 times.
The influx has meant that Signal has been struggling to keep up and was experiencing delays as carriers struggled to deliver the text message verifications required to use the app.
Will Cathcart of WhatsApp tried to quash the concerns by noting that their end-to-end encryption will not be changing and shared that
“We cannot see your private chats or calls and neither can Facebook … we're committed to this technology and committed to defending it globally. We've updated our policy to be transparent and to better describe optional people-to-business features.”
The term news will share a user's private data which includes their phone number, logs of how longs and how often you use the app and how you interact with others with WhatsApp's parent company – Facebook Inc. The deadline for agreeing to the new terms is February 8, 2021 or you will lose access to your chats and contacts. The update will appear as an in-app notification which you can ignore until the February deadline.
The notification was made public on Wednesday and says:
“By tapping agree, you accept the new terms, which take effect on February 8, 20201. After this date, you'll need to accept the new terms to continue using WhatsApp.”
WhatsApp uses a proprietary version of Signal's encryption technology but the largest concern is that the world's leading messaging platform will be following Facebook's model which has been less than stellar. Facebook has been described as “the world's most avaricious data harvesting machine.”
Facebook acquired Whatsapp in 2014. Forbes publication recently shared their opinion on whether users should leave the app:
“And so, should you stop using WhatsApp? The short answer is no, nothing has really changed. WhatsApp’s data sharing hasn’t really changed, its security hasn’t changed, it remains the largest end-to-end encrypted platform available, and one that’s likely be used by all those you communicate with. WhatsApp is materially better than SMS and Facebook Messenger, its mainstream alternatives. It is secure cross-platform unlike iMessage, and it’s end-to-end encrypted by default, unlike Telegram.”