WhatsApp, Data-Sharing & Advertising: What Should Users Do?
The writing was on the wall. 2 years ago, Facebook acquired WhatsApp in a huge deal. A long wait followed to see when and how Facebook will begin to monetise the huge amount of user data that it acquired along with WhatsApp.
Yesterday 2 new stories were reported:
(1) WhatsApp data will be used by Facebook to send advertisements (source: theverge.com)
(2) WhatsApp will begin to send advertisements to users (source: BBC)
Implication for Privacy
- All the private messages, pictures, videos (that users send on WhatsApp) are now likely analysed for advertising trends
- It follows that all these information, including the embarrassing or undesirable, is archived somewhere (even though there is supposedly end-to-end encryption).
- The primary criteria for mining information is mileage for advertising.
Implication for Cyber Wellness
(1) Users need to be continually vigilant on what we share on any social media platform - embarrassing information will not disappear or be deleted.
- Young children are especially vulnerable because most sites they use collect information for advertising.
- What may not embarrass or concern users now may show up to be a concern later
In the next 30 days, Facebook (WhatsApp) will offer the chance to opt-out. Take 3 minutes to do it.
(3) Back to Step 1 - continue to be vigilant because it is unlikely that this will be the last attempt to monetise user data.
This comment is an opinion & not yet a fact - like we first talked about the possibility of data sharing with Facebook 2.5 years ago. However, current business models of most social media platforms (Snapchat, Google, Facebook etc) point to a likely & continual attempt to maximise monetisation & alter users' notion & expectations of privacy.
Kingmaker runs masterclasses on the most current issues. We engage parents, educators & students on Cyber Wellness, Media Literacy & Digital Citizenship. Inquire with us for our programmes firstname.lastname@example.org.