JEDDAH: As WhatsApp launches a new in-app banner in response to the backlash over its privacy issue, Saudi experts and users weigh in on the company’s strategy.
“Harvesting user data is part of Facebook’s strategy,” Abdullah Al-Gumaijan, cybersecurity expert, told Arab News.
“It seems this will never change, even if it costs them millions of users, like what happened to WhatsApp last month when they updated their policy,” he said. “Today, WhatsApp will force their users to accept a similar policy. However, this time around they made it very clear they will not share users’ actual conversations.”
As long as WhatsApp remains a free app, he added, Facebook will make sure to get what it can from its users’ data.
Fahd Naseem, a WhatsApp user, said: “People have made this into a bigger issue than it really is. Facebook and other social media platforms are already using the data; there’s nothing wrong in WhatsApp using it too.”
He told Arab News that this data helps the apps deliver better and more personalized ads to their users.
Fatimah Al-Maddah, owner of Labothecaire, said that the privacy issue does not concern her and her team. “We use services like Dropbox for sensitive matters, and if we need to discuss something, we normally call. So, we don’t risk our information to begin with.”
However, WhatsApp said that it would never allow that to happen and that its end-to-end encryption ensures that people on both ends of the conversation are the only ones who can read those texts; not even the company has the access to them.
“In the coming weeks, we’ll display a banner in WhatsApp providing more information that people can read at their own pace,” the blog post read.
The company also faced backlash because of the poorly worded terms in the previous update, which caused confusion and concern and resulted in users abandoning the app entirely and moving onto other platforms.