Signal: The Wave of User’s Hypocrisy Over The WhatsApp Privacy Update

With just a privacy policy update Signal a messaging App gains a lot of attractions. Let’s keep aside Signal App for a moment and understood what’s going on with WhatsApp. We are all using WhatsApp daily, it helps to keep connected with our family and friends. And that’s the exact intention behind creating the app. But recently WhatsApp sending a notification to its users about upcoming privacy policy change. In case you have missed that notification you can read here. People who are concerned about their privacy now they are crying about the upcoming change. They should have cried in 2014 when Facebook bought WhatsApp.

Knowing fully well that Facebook helps advertisers of targeting ads they were not seen crying at that time. Is it hypocrisy? Well let’s find out what exactly it is in briefly with two key points i) The Internet is free and ii) Ethics of the company.


Table of Contents

The Internet is free for all

Let’s not be confused with free services. The internet is for all and it’s free at the same time, that doesn’t mean the websites or Applications have no expenses. The servers, RAM, SSD’s and Bandwith these are not free, no company or a person will be giving it for free. Think about the developers they are building apps to earn their bread they have expenses too. So why they will work day night building the app and having no money. Could you do that? No! no one can do that.

When we are given services with free of cost that means we are the product, we are their asset. WhatsApp sold to Facebook for $19B, do you really think such app can cost that much? No! Facebook did not buy the application for $19B, Facebook bought WhatsApp users and each user cost around $55! strange right? Yes, we are being sold to Facebook. The WhatsApp messaging system didn’t cost that much.

So, from this point, we got to know that the internet is free. But the services on the internet which are being provided for free are exactly not free. Once we start using that service we became their product or assets.

Ethics of the company concerning Signal and WhatsApp

This is what we all should care about before and while using their services. Behind a project there a lot of things abstracted from users. One of them is the ethics and intentions. In the case of WhatsApp, the intention of the company is very clear, it connecting families and friends. For managing, maintaining and scaling the application the company has to invest a lot of money. And they expect a return from their investment.

There is a lot of Open Source project and most of these are actually not treating users as an asset or product. These projects run on donations hence they earn enough to pay the developers who are working day night creating, managing the app. Between Signal and the WhatsApp, this is only the difference. Signal Application is an open-source project and runs on donations, hence it did not sell your data to advertisers or any other companies. It is completely free and has total privacy control, you can donate some money to support their work.

So from this point, we got to know that companies are monetizing their services by using users as assets. While helping advertisers for targeted ads. On the other hand, Open-source projects are truly free.

Signal’s wave or user’s hypocrisy

Well, we cannot say it is as hypocrisy, most users did not pay attention to abstracted information. Before Facebook-WhatsApp deal, WhatsApp did not motorize this way. Thus users still believing that their information i.e metadata will not be sold to any company or advertisers. But in the recent policy update, WhatsApp backed by Facebook will be collecting some info through your WhatsApp to help advertisers of targeting ads on interest-based. When you are using Facebook and Instagram without worrying about your privacy then what’s wrong with WhatsApp? I leave this question for you, answer wisely.

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