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I am writing this blog to answer questions I have received from friends and family. This blog is not to try and get everyone on the “Leave WhatsApp” bandwagon, or to cause mass panic.
There has been a lot of drama around WhatsApp and Facebook recently. Facebook, who owns WhatsApp has recently forced users to accept the new terms and conditions. If you don’t accept by the 8th of Feb your access will be cut.
These new Terms and conditions allow Whatsapp to:
- Share data between Whatsapp and Facebook. Facebook will now have access to all your contacts.
- Advertise to you. This shouldn’t worry you if you are already a Facebook or Instagram user.
- Sell products to you through their Whatsapp Business eCommerce features.
This is not about data harvesting
Again, if you are already a Facebook or Instagram user, these terms and conditions shouldn’t concern you. They are already harvesting this data from you regardless.
As someone that works in an industry that makes use of Facebook and Instagram marketing, I have been more and more put off by these companies as I have come to realise how much access to our private lives they actually have.
This is not about massive tech companies stealing our data. There is an advantage to giving these companies access to our data. In return for our data, we get more personalised content and more accurate adverts in our feeds.
My issue with social media
The biggest issue I have with large tech companies is that they have access to us when we are in our most privates spaces.
Before the internet the only way to put a product in front of someone was to use the Radio, TV, a door-to-door sales person or hope that your customer stumbled upon the product in the shops. This is the issue that I have with social media like Facebook, Instagram and soon, WhatsApp. They have the ability to put an advert in front of you that could alter your emotions or intentions for the rest of the day. Sorry for being so dramatic, it’s the truth.
Because of social media we’re seeing a rise in depression and anxiety. While more and more people are “More connected” they’re feeling more disconnected and discontent with what they do have.
The definition of success has shifted from happiness to perceived marketable happiness.
Never before have we been so frequently reminded of how other people are happier, prettier and richer than we are. This is also usually a well manicured façade. But the point stands, why do we subject ourselves to this?
This is the reason I am deleting Whatsapp. Soon, with these new terms and conditions Facebook will be able to advertise to you on your Whatsapp. Adverts will appear in your conversations and statuses. When Facebook bought Whatsapp, they weren’t buying free chat software. They were buying you, the user. You are the product.
What are the alternatives?
I have managed to convince a majority of my friends and family to move over to Signal. Signal is a Non Profit Organisation that offers a encrypted and free chat service. If you are already using WhatsApp you’ll feel right at home.
If you are interested in curbing your social media and phone use here is an article I wrote on how to resist the urge to use your phone.