‘Sup WhatsApp?

WhatsApp users are up in arms about the fact their data will be handed over to parent company Facebook. What are your options? By Kannan Chandran

When WhatsApp said it was going to share data on the users with parent Facebook, there was collective outrage on social media.

How to opt out of this sharing of data was shared widely. Oddly, once you’ve deactivated the sharing option, you don’t see it again. There are some phones — mainly iPhones that we checked — where the option doesn’t show up at all. So, you wouldn’t know whether your data is being shared or not.

Facebook’s magic number is one billion. Once it has that number of people using one of its products, the commercial machinery grinds into action. In the last decade, Facebook has acquired around 50 companies, including Instagram, Oculus VR and WhatsApp.

WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired in 2014, has hit the game-changing one billion users, triggering the expected response from its parent company.

Despite WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum’s promise that the company’s values will not change after being acquired by Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, being the bigger fish in the pond, has decided to reel in the opportunity.

WhatsApp will now be sharing phone numbers and other data on activity of its users with Facebook. While there will be a lot of people who will wonder what the big deal is here, there is a noisy group that does not like Facebook’s methods and who will resist this.

Already, this deemed bullying tactic by Facebook of always getting its way is forcing those who disagree with the latest move to look for alternatives.

The beneficiaries of this could be LINE and possibly other communication apps that will hold firm to their word that they will keep data private…for now.

But with a billion users, it’s more than likely networks are already firmly entrenched and users are not keen on setting things up again. Facebook is probably banking on this, and the fact that people are shopping online more. So, it sees this new move as a value-added service to help people find what they are looking for, and more.

As for those who vehemently oppose Facebook’s behaviour, perhaps you should look for other apps that will let you have your cake and eat it. While users want to have things for free, and have high expectations and demands, they have to ask themselves how long service providers can continue to do that without exacting their pound of flesh.

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