WhatsApp and Facebook — A Massive Culture Clash Over Encryption →


Elizabeth Dwoskin, writing for The Washington Post:

The WhatsApp co-founders were also big believers in privacy. They took pains to collect as little data as possible from their users, requiring only phone numbers and putting them at odds with data-hungry Facebook. At the time of the acquisition, Koum and Acton said Facebook had assured them that WhatsApp could remain an independent service and would not share its data with Facebook […]

Another point of disagreement was over WhatsApp’s encryption. In 2016, WhatsApp added end-to-end encryption, a security feature that scrambles people’s messages so that outsiders, including WhatsApp’s owners, can’t read them. Facebook executives wanted to make it easier for businesses to use its tools, and WhatsApp executives believed that doing so would require some weakening of its encryption.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg don’t know when to stop.

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  1. @moridin WhatsApp is a difficult one in my opinion. One the one hand I value my privacy, on the other hand in my country WA is the most used platform for messaging. I can live without my FB account, not without WA.

  2. The WhatsApp founders deserve some of the blame. What did they think would happen when they sold to Facebook?

  3. Personally, my favorite paragraph of the Washington Post article was the final one. I’ve been using Signal for several years with my immediate family and a number of friends, but I’ve run into the same problem as Vvdt. My correspondents overseas, particularly in Europe, just aren’t ready to part with WhatsApp.

    • I think that at this point in tech history, it’s prudent and beneficial to be flexible and nimble in choosing/switching to different platforms when the need arises, especially if privacy and security in an important issue.

  4. @Vvdt Yeah, I already heard from a friend that WhatsApp is huge in NL. It isn’t over here in Poland, not in the way you guys use it. Many people prefer Messenger but AFAIK they don’t use it for group/community chats as much. That’s the problem with being so deeply hooked on one product — hard to change if it goes bad.

    Given my stance on privacy and security, I’d delete it anyway. 🙃