Facebook buys WhatsApp - Will Your Personal Texts Be Data-Mined?
2014-02-21 0:00

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

Why a Caucasian-Japanese is not Percieved as Japanese
2015-08-04 2:15
The Japan Times has a hilarious article about a White guy who is angry and upset at the horrible and racist world we live in because customs agents and border agents are questioning his "right to be Japanese." It's seems that Debito Arodou's experience at border crossings suggest that no one takes a White guy seriously, for claiming to be Japanese. Hmm, ...
"Open the border - we're going to the UK!" Chanting mob of 200 storm Eurotunnel
2015-08-04 1:25
Migrants make their way towards the Tunnel entrance in the early hours of Sunday morning An organised mob of 200 migrants charged into the Calais entrance of the Channel Tunnel early yesterday, chanting ‘open the borders’ and demanding to be allowed into Britain. They tore down fences and charged past police, who retaliated by spraying tear gas. When the migrants were finally ...
Forgotten British Heroes Campaign
2015-08-04 0:16
The text of the letter from the Forgotten British Heroes Campaign to the Israel ambassador in London, Daniel Taub. This will be delivered to the Israel Embassy on Saturday 1st August, the day on which the Campaign will hold a wreath-laying and then a meeting at the site of a notorious Zionist terrorist bombing near to Trafalgar Square (the former British ...
Baltimore Murders Tie Records After Freddie Gray Killing, 45 Killed In July To Make It The Deadliest Month In At Least 45 Years
2015-08-03 23:14
The number of people murdered in Baltimore hit a record-tying 45 homicides for the month of July, the Baltimore Sun is reporting. The number is an uptick that follows a trend of increased violence in the city in the months after the Baltimore riots that resulted from the death of unarmed black man Freddie Gray on April 12. The increased violence in Baltimore, which was already one ...
Executive arrested over disappearance of $390 million in Bitcoins
2015-08-03 23:38
Mark Karpeles, head of collapsed MTGox Bitcoin exchange held by Japanese police Japanese police on Saturday arrested Mark Karpeles, head of the collapsed MtGox Bitcoin exchange, over the disappearance of about $390 (£250 million) worth of the virtual currency, local media said. France-born Karpeles, 30, is suspected of having accessed the exchange's computer system and falsifying data on its outstanding balance, ...
More News »