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WhatsAppening? Facebook is sharing WhatsApp data when it said it wouldn't

Of course I'm not surprised that Facebook is breaking their promise about not sharing data with Whatsapp.

I confess not to have deleted Facebook yet. A handful of groups and distant relatives is what stops me from doing so. But one thing after another and I think 2021 is going to be the year I delete Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

In a surprise move, WhatsApp recently gave many of its users a difficult choice: they could either accept a revised privacy policy that explicit allowed the service to share information with parent company Facebook by February 8th, or decline and risk not being able to use the service at all.

The company informed those users through an in-app notification which lays out the changes in very broad terms: the updates to the policy include “more information about WhatsApp’s service and how we process your data, how businesses can use Facebook hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats, [and] how we partner with Facebook to offer integrations across the Facebook Company Products.”

Upon further inspection, the updated policy makes clear that data collected by WhatsApp — including user phone numbers, “transaction data, service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using our Services , mobile device information, your IP address” and more are subject to be shared with other properties owned and controlled by Facebook.

Source: https://www.engadget.com/amp/whatsapp-privacy-policy-update-facebook-data-sharing-205451955.html

DIY social network

This is a screenshot of how I have my RSS feeds currently set up.

My RSS feeds

I'm always changing my mind, but I think my plan for 2021 is to focus in on my own DIY social network:

  • my personal website as a place where I ongoingly and casually update stuff
  • have an email list as part of it
  • (maybe) go back to Flickr for photos
  • ensure I keep my RSS feeds relevant to me and have it as my 'social and news home': instead of checking 'social media, I check my RSS. It's good, you should try it
  • Start using Signal for messaging

Really, the best way to stop relying on social media is to own it all yourself. We all talk about owning our email lists, we should be talking about the same for our personal data and networks too.

  1. 6

    I'm considering uninstalling Whatsapp because of this

  2. 2

    Rosie, I'm super intrigued about your RSS feeds setup. I'm not too familiar with this, would you be kind to elaborate a bit more on this?

    I know RSS feeds is to track new blog posts, podcasts, and YouTube channel uploads. Do you use Feedly or RSS.app or others? :)

    1. 2

      I use Bazqux Reader for my RSS.

    2. 1

      And out of all tech giants, I don't know why, but FB is my least fav. Maybe because of their behaviors over the years, not inspiring and honest. I'm quite okay with Amazon, Google, Apple, Netflix.

      But agree with others, it'd be quite hard to get away from Whatsapp since everyone is using it. Families (last generation) would likely not change.

  3. 2

    What's the WhatsApp alternative?

    1. 3

      My favourite is Telegram. It's huge outside the US. Very private centric... Until some giant company buys it maybe 😄

    2. 2

      Isn’t there a bunch?

      Signal would get my vote but I’ve heard good things about telegram too.

      1. 3

        Trying Signal. Apparently Musk recently recommended it so expect a surge.

        1. 6

          I’ve been using signal for a long time. I don’t know much about the background other than it’s backed by a not for profit foundation, the code is fully open sourced and has thus been vetted by security geeks all over the world, and that their primary directive is privacy.

  4. 1

    What about matrix, and element? https://matrix.org/clients/ I think it is a good alternative, and also is not a centralized network. I took a closer look about it today, the decentralized network idea in general after all these things that have happened. Also check this comparison https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research_on_open_source_team_communication_tools

  5. 1

    Knew something like this was coming when they added by Facebook on the launch screen. 🤨

  6. 1

    I do something similar. RSS feeds, email subscriptions, or something like Mailbrew deliver the content you like. And you don’t miss updates. Facebook pages have little organic reach. I only saw 20% of the post of my best friends band. Instead I saw annoying videos and ads.

    More than 70% of my friends have Telegram and or Signal. If I add old school text messages and email it’s more.

    For groups there’s all sorts of better community platforms.

    And for keeping in touch and birthdays I made my own app. This way it’s only birthday reminders of people I care about. And I don’t lose contact, if someone lives far away and doesn’t post updates. I don’t need the nudge. On FB or Instagram people scroll through a profile and feel updated. Perhaps they like or comment something. When I get a reminder from my app I try to meet, have a call or send a longer message.

    There’s enough alternative in 2021. Startups and indie hackers come up with niche products that solve one aspect of FB at a time in a better and more privacy friendly way.

  7. 1

    Been using Telegram for over 3 years. So good and has amazingly better features. More security and the desktop version is awesome! 😃

  8. 1

    I mainly use WhatsApp to connect with family and I am still wondering because it will take a lot of time to get them to switch platforms.

  9. 1

    true, recently when the notification popped asking for allowing data use, I was astonished as to why now, on a quick search for alternatives bought me over to,
    ->Signal
    ->Telegram
    But the problem now is, do all of my friends reside here? Shouldn't have done this Facebook!

  10. 1

    Love this, thanks for sharing your setup. I'm going to try something similar. Do you know about nitter.net? You can get any Twitter user's feed as RSS.

  11. 1

    Signal is my go-to, especially for my friend who are Android users. Next is Apple Messenger. Last resort is SMS.

    1. 1

      I wish apple would just release iMessage for android.

  12. 1

    How would you replace WhatsApp? At least here in Mexico nobody uses iMessage, Telegram or even Facebook Messenger to chat. Do you think Telegram has a change? I'm asking because I'm working on a side-project right now which involves customers sending us WhatsApp messages (horrible API), but maybe Telegram is the right choice.

    1. 2

      There is also open-source app called https://signal.org/
      Haven't used it.

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