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Ditch Facebook and use Signal – Elon Musk

Ditch Facebook and use Signal – Elon Musk

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Tech CEO Elon Musk has urged his almost 42 million Twitter followers to use secure messaging app Signal instead of Facebook products.

The tweets seem to have been prompted by a recent change to Facebook’s privacy policy. As reported by The Hacker News, the new updates allow more sharing of data between Facebook and its partner company WhatsApp, including the sharing of phone numbers, interactions on the platform, information about mobile devices used to access the service, and IP addresses. If WhatsApp users do not agree to the data sharing, their accounts are disabled.

Musk has been vocally critical of Facebook in the past, saying that he chose to delete Facebook accounts for SpaceX and Tesla in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018. He has also had spats with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally, the two of them having sniped at each other over Twitter and other social media platforms several times in the past.

Facebook’s series of privacy issues has lead to increasing criticism of the company, including from prominent figures in the tech sphere. The app Musk suggested people use instead, Signal, is an encrypted messaging app that is more of an alternative to WhatsApp than to Facebook. It is for sharing messages securely between users or groups rather than a public social network.

As messages sent on Signal are encrypted, they remain private even if someone’s phone is stolen or confiscated by the police. This has made it popular among those organizing demonstrations such as the Black Lives Matter protests following the murder of George Floyd by police last summer.

However, Signal has not been without its security issues. A vulnerability in the app discovered last year could have allowed hackers to track users’ locations just by calling their Signal phone number, even if the hacker didn’t have the user’s contact information. The vulnerability was patched but did lead to concerns over how much users could trust the app to be secure.

WhatsApp gives users an ultimatum: Share data with Facebook or stop using the app

WhatsApp, the Facebook-owned messenger that claims to have privacy coded into its DNA, is giving its 2 billion plus users an ultimatum: agree to share their personal data with the social network or delete their accounts.

The requirement is being delivered through an in-app alert directing users to agree to sweeping changes in the WhatsApp terms of service. Those who don’t accept the revamped privacy policy by February 8 will no longer be able to use the app.

Shortly after Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, its developers built state-of-the-art end-to-end encryption into the messaging app. The move was seen as a victory for privacy advocates because it used the Signal Protocol, an open source encryption scheme whose source code has been reviewed and audited by scores of independent security experts.

In 2016, WhatsApp gave users a one-time ability to opt out of having account data turned over to Facebook. Now, an updated privacy policy is changing that. Come next month, users will no longer have that choice. Some of the data that WhatsApp collects includes:

  • User phone numbers
  • Other people’s phone numbers stored in address books
  • Profile names
  • Profile pictures and
  • Status message including when a user was last online
  • Diagnostic data collected from app logs

Under the new terms, Facebook reserves the right to share collected data with its family of companies.

A lack of transparency

The move comes a month after Apple started requiring iOS app makers, including WhatsApp, to detail the information they collect from users. WhatsApp, according to the App Store, reserves the right to collect:

  • Purchases
  • Financial information
  • Location
  • Contacts
  • User content
  • Identifiers
  • Usage data and
  • Diagnostics

A WhatsApp spokeswoman declined to speak on the record about the changes and precisely how or if it’s possible for users to opt out of them. She agreed to email additional information on the condition it be kept on background, meaning none of the details can be quoted verbatim.

A lack of transparency

The move comes a month after Apple started requiring iOS app makers, including WhatsApp, to detail the information they collect from users. WhatsApp, according to the App Store, reserves the right to collect:

  • Purchases
  • Financial information
  • Location
  • Contacts
  • User content
  • Identifiers
  • Usage data and
  • Diagnostics

A WhatsApp spokeswoman declined to speak on the record about the changes and precisely how or if it’s possible for users to opt out of them. She agreed to email additional information on the condition it be kept on background, meaning none of the details can be quoted verbatim.

A lack of transparency

The move comes a month after Apple started requiring iOS app makers, including WhatsApp, to detail the information they collect from users. WhatsApp, according to the App Store, reserves the right to collect:

  • Purchases
  • Financial information
  • Location
  • Contacts
  • User content
  • Identifiers
  • Usage data and
  • Diagnostics

A WhatsApp spokeswoman declined to speak on the record about the changes and precisely how or if it’s possible for users to opt out of them. She agreed to email additional information on the condition it be kept on background, meaning none of the details can be quoted verbatim.

The move, the spokeswoman said, is part of a previously disclosed move to allow businesses to store and manage WhatsApp chats using Facebook’s infrastructure. Users won’t have to use WhatsApp to interact with the businesses and have the option of blocking the businesses. She said there will be no change in how WhatsApp shares provides data with Facebook for non-business chats and account data.

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