WhatsApp recently shared with 2 billion users that if they want to continue using the platform, they must agree to share their data with the parent company on Facebook as well. Incidentally, this change does not apply in principle to users who live in Europe, including Hungary – however, it was sent to all users.
WhatsApp users can only pursue the service if they accept the new terms by February 8th. Lots of people have chosen to use Telegram and Signal, which offer free encrypted messaging services, rather than obey the new rules.
According to analyst firm Sensor Tower, Signal was downloaded 246,000 times worldwide before WhatsApp announced the change on January 4, and 8.8 million the following week.
This changed by country like this: in India, the number of Signal downloads increased from 12,000 to 2.7 million, in the UK from 7,400 to 191,000, and in the US from 63,000 to 1.1 million.
By the way, Signal mentioned in tweets that some users indicated that the system had slowed down a bit and was unable to create groups, and also due to the extensive application, the verification codes arrived slower, but the issues were eventually resolved by creating new servers.
A similar big increase was also seen in a service called Telegram, which saw 6.5 million again last week, up from 11 million in the first week of this year.
Incidentally, WhatsApp also informed users that the data shared with the parent company does not include personal messages, groups, or call logs.
However, they include:
- Phone number and other information provided during registration (such as name);
- Information about the user’s phone, including the make, model and mobile company;
- Internet Protocol (IP) addresses indicating where the user is connected to the Internet;
- Payments and financial transactions via WhatsApp.
The WhatsApp administration avoided the outrageous reaction by:
Our company rules comply with applicable data protection laws.