Elon Musk Doesn't Trust Whatsapp- Here's Why

Kyle Alejandro·2 min read

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and recently proclaimed "richest man alive", has warned against using the Whatsapp messaging app, suggesting that users find more secure alternatives.

QUICK LOOK: Issues with Whatsapp

  • No user opt-out for sharing of data with Facebook
  • No end-to-end encryption for backup services

The reaction from the tech industry leader was prompted by the massive backlash to upcoming changes planned for the Facebook-owned messaging platform.

So, why doesn't Elon Musk trust Whatsapp? Here's why:

What’s wrong with Whatsapp?

One of the most popular messaging apps today, questions about Whatsapp's commitment to user privacy started emerging when the platform was purchased by Facebook in 2014.

Shortly after the Facebook purchase, Whatsapp reassured its users that little would change when it came to the matter of data privacy and the company’s values. This was in response to concerns regarding Facebook’s notorious disregard for user privacy.

However, Whatsapp began backtracking on this statement as early as 2016 when they announced that they would start sharing user data with Facebook. At the time, Whatsapp mitigated user concerns by giving their users the option to opt out of sharing their data with Facebook.

Opting out of privacy

Whatsapp’s relationship with Facebook has once again been put under the spotlight after an update to their terms of use which states that Whatsapp users will no longer be able to opt out of sharing their data with Facebook.

UPDATE: Whatsapp has extended their deadline to May 15

Effective February 8, 2021 , Whatsapp will be sharing user information with Facebook which will include: personal information such as names, pictures, status updates, phone numbers, contacts, IP addresses, mobile device data, network carriers, and details on business transactions conducted via the app such as shipping addresses and how much users spent.

Whatsapp users are now forced to either consent to their data being shared or stop using the app entirely.

Other issues with Whatsapp

Aside from their troublesome relationship with Facebook, Whatsapp has been plagued with other security and privacy issues; chief of which being certain encryption practices.

Though Whatsapp does provide end-to-end encryption (meaning that only the sender and recipient can access any data sent on the app) on their platform, their backup services are not given the same level of protection.

Whatsapp offers its users the ability to backup their messages and data so that the user can recover any accidentally deleted messages, which is a helpful feature- in theory. However, these backup files are decrypted and stored on cloud services, creating a massive vulnerability for any Whatsapp data that’s backed up.

By storing unencrypted files on cloud services, Whatsapp undoes a lot of the protection and security that end-to-end encryption is able to provide.

Is staying on Whatsapp worth it?

Whether or not you’re willing to sacrifice your data and privacy for the convenience that Whatsapp provides is a question that only you can answer. However, with more and more people relying on communication and collaboration platforms as tools in their work and personal lives, we believe that users deserve a solution that doesn’t force you to choose between convenience and security.

Written byKyle Alejandro

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