Facebook buys WhatsApp - Will Your Personal Texts Be Data-Mined?
2014 02 21

By Red Ice Creations

Facebook just bought the social networking app ’WhatsApp" for a large sum of $16 billion, granting access to the app’s vast international user base.

The popular app is described by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a "simple, fast and reliable mobile messaging service". It’s popularity stems from the implied privacy of the software, and it was a way to communicate with family and friends while avoiding expensive phone plans.

Enter Facebook, well known for its invasive data mining, and now the issue may be that WhatsApp users will no longer have the privacy they’re used to.

A recent Maclean’s article suggests that WhatsApp users might be in for more than they’ve bargained for.

As reported by Mclean’s:

[...]here’s an interesting thought: so much of Facebook’s revenue-generation strategy relies on target marketing and data-mining, and considering its base of young people and growing foreign markets, data-mining WhatsApp would be the equivalent of data-mining text messages. What Facebook does best is allow you to give a sense of the things that define you and who you really are, but that means there’s a lot of social media preening, a defense mechanism that goes down when you’re off social media, while calling or texting your friends in intimate and personal moments. If we’re a projected, best version of ourselves on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, what could advertisers do with knowledge of what we’re like when we’re our actual selves? WhatsApp’s creator says users will not see any changes and that it will not integrate ads, but that doesn’t preclude under-the-hood tinkering that could provide more information for ads on the Facebook platform.

Facebook is notorious for data collection, aggressive advertising, and the shunning of ’privacy’ as irrelevant to today’s society. It will undoubtedly push past any limitations that were the intentions of the WhatsApp founders.

ThinkProgress writes:
WhatsApp prides itself on limiting data collection from its users. Both of WhatsApp’s founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton worked for Yahoo and saw how tech companies exploited users’ online activity to make better ads. “These days companies know literally everything about you, your friends, your interests, and they use it all to sell ads,” the founders wrote on WhatsApp’s blog. “When we sat down to start our own thing together three years ago we wanted to make something that wasn’t just another ad clearinghouse.”

Koum, who grew up in communist Ukraine, is a staunch privacy supporter because of his upbringing. “Jan’s childhood made him appreciate communication that was not bugged or taped,” Jim Goetz, a partner with Sequoia Capital, a WhatsApp investor, told the Wall Street Journal.

The app was built on the premise that people can share messages, photos and videos without interference from third parties. Those messages are deleted off WhatsApp’s servers once they’re delivered.

Now under new management, users should not assume that their SMS messages are private, and should take care with the content of their messages the same way that they did previously with their Facebook posts (you did that, right?). In the era of ubiquitous global surveillance for money and control, it’s in our best interest to maintain those privacy ’defense mechanisms’ when not face-to-face with our contacts.

By Red Ice Creations




Sources:

ThinkProgress.org

Macleans.ca





Related Articles
Facebook loosens privacy settings for kids, allows photos and personal info to be shared with strangers, marketers
Google ’respects’ but disagrees on privacy
Gmail users cannot expect privacy while sending mails: Google
Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ’Nothing to Hide’
Yahoo , Facebook CEOs: We faced jail if we revealed NSA surveillance secrets
Regret Facebook? Here’s an escape route.
Assange: Facebook is the most appalling spy machine that has ever been invented
NSA collects millions of text messages daily in ’untargeted’ global sweep


Latest News from our Front Page

Norway Joins the Race to Develop Killer Robots
2014 10 24
Norway is a large exporter of weapons, which makes the resolution of the debate about creating killer robots an important issue for everyone.  One could debate the overall merits or failings of robotic systems, but an area that clearly has become a point for concern on all sides is the emergence of "killer robots." According to robotics pioneer, David Hanson, ...
Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
More News »