Reports are saying that WhatsApp users are leaving WhatsApp and signing up with an alternative to WhatsApp at an astonishing rate since the announcement that Facebook is aquiring WhatsApp for $19billion. While the WhatsApp outage that happened just a few days after the announcement hasn’t helped, most industry sources say that the international userbase is jumping ship primarily over privacy concerns, with users trusting neither the United States in general, nor Facebook in particular, to protect their privacy.[Ed. Note: Gosh, we can’t imagine why.]
According to a report in the German news outlet, Der Spiegel, for example, WhatsApp alternative Threema doubled its number of users, to 400,000, in one night following the announcement. Threema is based in Switzerland, which has some of the tightest privacy requirements in the EU, and offers “true end-to-end encryption”.
Moreover, Thilo Weichert, data protection commissioner for the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, came out publicly suggesting that, with the Facebook acquisition, WhatsApp users switch to a move privacy-friendly app. “Facebook sees everything. And WhatsApp also sees everything,” he said.
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“When communication metadata and content of both services is merged, it can be used for profiling and commercially exploited for advertising purposes,” Weichert is reported as saying, adding that users should “start using German or Europe-based services that are transparent about their security and are subject to an effective data protection regime.”
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