Should WhatsApp Users Have Privacy Concerns Because of Facebook’s Acquisition?

Many are concerned that Facebook will get its hands on WhatsApp conversations

By on February 20th, 2014 10:45 GMT

One of the main issues that many users have with Facebook acquiring WhatsApp is that their messages will now belong to the social network, but is that  a real concern?

Both Facebook and WhatsApp have said that when it comes to how the messaging app works, it will continue to be independent of Facebook, save for some extra money in the team’s pockets.

Facebook has even promised not to insert any type of advertising into the platform, which would otherwise require some minimal information about users. This is because Zuckerberg considers that there’s no place for ads into mobile messaging apps, which is backed by the fact that there are no ads in Facebook’s own Messaging app.

If all this remains true, then fears about privacy issues should be minimal.

A quick look into WhatsApp’s FAQ reveals that when it comes to security, the startup takes things seriously.

“WhatsAp communication between your phone and our server is fully encrypted. We do not store your chat history on our servers. Once delivered successfully to your phone, chat messages are removed from our system,” the app’s Support Team states.

So that means that not only are the messages encrypted, but they’re also not stored on the servers for any longer than a few seconds.

Of course, agencies (*cough* NSA) could still peek in and collect data as it passes, but that could happen whether WhatsApp belongs to Facebook or not. The fact that the intelligence agencies of the world also have a tendency to delve straight into the Internet fiber cables, effectively bypassing the need to ask for anyone’s permission, should also be taken into consideration, regardless of what type of Internet tool you use.

So, at least in theory, judging by the available data, users shouldn’t really have any additional privacy concerns now than they did before the acquisition.

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