WhatsApp updates users’ privacy: why nothing changes for us!26 January 2021
If you are a user of the most popular instant messaging platform in the world (i.e. WhatsApp), you will have already received this notice. Because the Californian company has been sending it to its users over the last few days. And there has been no lack of perplexity, in some cases resulting in paranoid conspiracies about what will happen to those who use WhatsApp. Also because the phrase “After this date, you’ll need to accept these updates to continue using WhatsApp” has sparked a whole series of reactions. So let’s try to understand what this warning means and, above all, what consequences it implies.
A storm in a teacup. What WhatsApp has announced is a unilateral modification of its terms and conditions of service. Something that often happens with online platforms run by private companies. Here the real point concerns the interaction that WhatsApp wants to have (and can have) with Facebook, another application in the digital galaxy headed by Mark Zuckerberg. Since Facebook acquired WhatsApp (in February 2014, for a sum close to 19 billion dollars), interaction between the 2 apps, namely the sharing of data, has always been the true hidden weapon that enticed Zuckerberg. In recent months, however, this interaction has ended up under the microscope of regulators around the world. Hence the update and the (necessary) warning from WhatsApp. Because this update aims to protect Facebook, which will continue to use data from the instant messaging app, as well as sharing it with Messenger and Instagram. In all this, however, is a classic storm in a teacup. Because in Italy (and in the rest of Europe) this update will have no effect. Starting from the fact that the 2 entities are different: WhatsApp Ireland for European users and WhatsApp Inc for the rest of the world.
The changes to WhatsApp Business. Regarding WhatsApp Business, the messaging service used by company accounts, things are slightly different. In this case (but this has already been known for months) companies can archive the conversations they have with users/customers. And then use them for commercial purposes. But that, for now, is another story.
Oscar Giacomin / General Manager, Facto Edizioni
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