(Photo by ARUN SANKAR / AFP)
In 2014, Facebook acquired the instant messaging platform for $19 billion – the largest acquisition by the social media giant to date.
According to The Global State of Digital in 2019 report, WhatsApp is the most used social media platform in Nigeria. At least, 85 per cent of Nigeria’s 24 million active social media users are on the platform.
Reacting to the new policy, Adekunle Badru, with the Twitter handle @Abadru decried the policy, saying: “I don’t think WhatsApp is serious about this new policy. I am moving to Telegram.”
Another user with the handle @NKdiamond, noted: “Apart from not covering us, they want to monitor how we shop, transact, love and eat. I don’t think that is friendly enough. There must be a rethink.”
Since its release about two days ago, the policy has been generating reactions from users in Nigeria and other parts of the world. But that is coming from those who took their time to read the terms as many users hurriedly click ‘Agree’ without reading the content of the agreement.
Though WhatsApp has been collecting data from its users since its inception, the new policy is about integrating the database with Facebook, which could on a future date be used for targeted advertising and political campaigns.
Also, it raises privacy concerns as it plans to monetise the user data.
Besides the device information and location data, the platform also collects information like messaging data, calling, status, groups (including group name, group picture, group description), payments or business feature, profile photo, whether you are online or not among others details.
It now wants users to share the phone number, IP address, mobile service provider and browsing information with Facebook.
The new terms and conditions also say that if a user uses a data backup service integrated with WhatsApp (like iCloud and Google Drive), he/she will receive information such as your WhatsApp messages, the content of in-app players, your payment and transaction information, shipping details and transaction amount (if using WhatsApp Pay).
Meanwhile, Twitter’s German-listed shares slumped as much as 8 per cent on Monday, the first trading day after it permanently suspended President Donald Trump’s account late on Friday.
The company said the suspension of Trump’s account, which had more than 88 million followers, was due to the risk of further violence, following the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday.
It was the first time Twitter banned a head of state. The ban sparked a worldwide controversy over the influence of tech giants on free speech and democracy.
For Twitter’s balance sheet itself, the decision to ban the U.S. president is expected to have a moderate negative impact.
“Expect slight user decline, though engagement erosion is a bigger question”, Berstein analysts wrote.
Far-right groups maintain a vigorous online presence on digital platforms like Parler, Gab, MeWe, Zello and Telegram and could disengage from mainstream social media.
There could also be additional costs for Twitter and others as they seek to further moderate content uploaded by their users.
“Incremental moderation may be welcome but it’s not cheap and could benefit Facebook that already employees a moderation army (around six times) larger than Twitter workforce,” Berstein analysts said.