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How Your WhatsApp Activity Could Be Compromising Your Privacy

How did Facebook, a company with a history of data breaches, user privacy violations, and questionable business practices, come to own one of the most highly-regarded privacy apps? And how did WhatsApp, an app created to combat the sort of invasive behavior Facebook was notorious for, fall prey to its parent company's dark side? It is critical to comprehend how your digital privacy is being compromised and how to defend yourself against it. HapPhi does not use your data for hidden purposes. Your data is your data.

Written by
June 15, 2022

Image Source: FreeImages‍

When it comes to digital privacy, there aren’t many apps out there that can be trusted. Some are highly invasive by default, others sell your data to advertisers, and some even have built-in backdoors for government agencies or third-party developers to read your messages. Fortunately, with the rise of social media and messaging apps like WhatsApp, there has been a recent resurgence in interest in personal and digital security. But one app you might not expect to compromise your privacy is WhatsApp — an app that boasts end-to-end encryption and is marketed specifically because of its emphasis on user privacy. However, as with any other social media or messaging platform, there are some things you should know before using WhatsApp more heavily than you do now.

Facebook’s In-House Messenger Has a Dark Side

Let’s start with Facebook’s in-house messaging app — the one that, up until recently, was actually known as “Messenger.” There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the app recently, with some people even going as far to call for it to be completely deleted from people’s phones. When you sign up for Facebook’s Messenger app, you’re granting the company a ton of permissions. Not only can Facebook read all of your messages, but they also have the ability to record all of your phone calls, track your location, access your contacts, and even modify your phone’s operating system. Basically, Facebook has access to everything you do on your phone, which is why people are calling for the app to either be heavily regulated or completely removed from app stores.

Facebook Can (And Will) Read Your WhatsApp Messages

Now let’s talk about the actual WhatsApp app. It’s important to note that while its parent company, Facebook, can’t read your WhatsApp messages, they can certainly read the metadata associated with those messages. If you’re not familiar with the concept of metadata, it’s essentially data about data. For example, your IP address can be considered metadata — it’s data about where you are and when you were there. Metadata is used to piece together a complete picture of your online activity and can be just as revealing as reading the content of your messages. For this reason, metadata is often frowned upon by security experts as a potential breach of privacy. Now that Facebook owns WhatsApp, they have access to this metadata. They can tell who you’re communicating with, when you’re communicating with them, and for how long.

WhatsApp Transmits Data Even When You’re Not Using It

Another way that WhatsApp might compromise your privacy is by continuously transmitting data even when the app is not in use. This data includes your phone number, when you last used the app, the device you’re using, your IP address, and your operating system. When you sign up for WhatsApp, you are agreeing to the fact that they will transmit this data, and that they may transmit it to third parties, including law enforcement and government agencies. Whereas other messaging apps will only transmit data when you are actively sending a message, WhatsApp is designed to continuously transmit this data, even when it’s not in use.

WhatsApp Is Always Tracking Where You Are and What You’re Doing

Finally, one more thing to mention is that the WhatsApp app is always tracking your location and what you’re doing. This data is used to generate a “location readout” that is attached to each of your messages, so that the recipient of your message will know where you are when you send them the message. This is extremely useful for things like making plans with friends or family, but it also means that WhatsApp is collecting data about where you’ve been and when you’ve been there. This data is transmitted to Facebook and can be used to generate a complete profile of your daily activities, routines, and whereabouts.

All of This Together Means One Thing: Facebook Knows A Lot About You

Basically, what all of this means is that Facebook knows a lot about you. They know who your closest friends are, who you talk to the most, what your daily activities are, and where you’ve been. They can even use this data to predict where you’re going to be in the near future. All of this is incredibly invasive, especially coming from an app like WhatsApp, which is marketed specifically because of its emphasis on privacy. Click now

Bottom line

So, how did we get here? How did a company like Facebook, with a checkered past of data breaches, violations of user privacy, and questionable business practices, end up owning one of the most highly-regarded apps for privacy? And how did an app like WhatsApp, which was created specifically to fight against the type of invasive practices that Facebook was known for, fall victim to the dark side of its parent company? This is why it’s so important to understand how your digital privacy is being compromised, and how to best protect yourself against it.

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