Things Change #64: A lesson for Facebook-WhatsApp in India?
21 January 2021
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Whoever designed WhatsApp’s privacy policy notification must feel like the most foolish person on the planet right now.

A generic alert along the lines of “Hey, we’ve updated our Terms of Service/Privacy Policy, check it out here” wasn’t good enough; the approach, instead, was to present an ominous message about new data collection and sharing practices, with a demand to agree by 8 February, or else…

Little needs to be said about the immediate fallout. Panic spread across social media and WhatsApp groups as privacy advocates and the media began to point out that WhatsApp is indeed owned by Facebook and can share information about its users with the parent company. Tens of millions of Indians have flocked to other messaging apps such as Telegram and Signal, though whether WhatsApp’s user base of over 400 million in the country will really be affected in the long run is something we’ll have to wait and see.

The backlash is global, but India is by far

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