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Data sharing with Facebook - WhatsApp: New terms of use - but change takes nerves - news

Data sharing with Facebook – WhatsApp: New terms of use – but change takes nerves – news


WhatsApp users must agree to the new terms of use by May 15th. Are there alternatives?

Everything about this: The SMS service WhatsApp is making a name for itself with its new terms of use. Users must agree by May 15 at the latest, otherwise they will no longer be able to use the app. Among other things, WhatsApp wants to share more data with its parent company Facebook. Therefore, calls are currently circulating on the Internet to delete WhatsApp and rely on alternatives.

New Terms of Use: Agree, you agree that Facebook may collect the alleged metadata from WhatsApp, explains SRF digital editor Peter Buchmann. The metadata includes information such as the status, when the message was sent, and to whom and where the user is.

It is not clear what data Facebook actually collects. For legal reasons, Facebook can go farther in the US than it is in Europe and Switzerland. One thing is clear: Message content will not be passed on to Facebook. All messages are encrypted and Facebook cannot access the content.

Change: The announcement that Facebook will constantly take over data from WhatsApp in the future has alarmed many. What many don’t know: Facebook is actually collecting data from WhatsApp. Until recently, you still had the option to block the transfer or not.

As of May 15th, there is no longer any choice. But anyone active on Facebook or Instagram in addition to WhatsApp is already passing data widely. So change is a matter of discretion. Still shocking is that Facebook broke its promise when it took over WhatsApp to keep the app separate from other Facebook products.

Alternatives: Two chat services are available as alternatives: the Threema app from Switzerland, which largely protects privacy. Signal doesn’t go that far, but it’s currently a popular alternative. It cannot be excluded that these services will someday change the terms of use and then want to transfer the data.

SRF digital editor Peter Buchmann considers the risk currently low: Signal is funded by a foundation. Users pay for the Swiss Threema app: individuals pay three francs once for the app, and there is a subscription form for companies and schools. So you have a choice whether you want to pay with money or with your data.

Change without data loss is possible: Backup can be made so that you don’t waste thousands of messages if you move away from WhatsApp. However, this function is not very user-friendly for clients because, among other things, texts and images are stored separately. So Facebook doesn’t make it that easy for users – for obvious reasons.

Possible consequences: One can only speculate about whether the current move will harm WhatsApp. According to SRF Digital Editor Peter Buchmann, it is unlikely that the majority of users will turn their backs on WhatsApp now.

The obstacles that you have to overcome before you can completely give up WhatsApp are very high: all contacts must switch to another application, if possible to the same application. It is not easy to back up chats. It is envisioned that users will now be using different apps in parallel over a longer period of time and that this shift away from WhatsApp will take place.