According to The New York Times, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is personally pushing for the merging of WhatsApp with Instagram and Messenger. We can say that already there is a fairly good amount of synchronization between Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. Particularly with the Stories, and News Feed posts.
However, WhatsApp has largely been left out as an independent arm of Facebook, though it is now fully-owned by the social media giant. With the revelation that Facebook wants to merge WhatsApp to Instagram and Messenger, security conscious users have not received the news well.
Data Privacy Breach at Facebook
Though reports say the merging of WhatsApp into Instagram and Messenger will be supported by end-to-end encryption making it impossible for third parties to eavesdrop. Critics argue Facebook has not shown an entirely reliable history when it comes to its ability to keep users data private and secure.
Over the last year, Facebook has suffered several hacks and data leakages, more than it cares to admit. The data leak to Cambridge Analytica being the biggest as it led to Zuckerberg being grilled by the U.S. Congress. But that scandal is far from over, as there are still some ongoing investigations and several suspects have been arraigned in court.
Cambridge Analytica used data off Facebook to conduct misleading campaigns on social media and other online platforms with the intention of influencing elections around the world. The data science company has been accused of meddling in at least two elections; general election in Kenya and the presidential election in the USA.
Data Mining and Exploitation at the Heart of this Merge
One may wonder why Zuckerberg would want to merge these social media platforms. While it does make sense to have a unified platform for instant messaging by Facebook. It also raises the suspicion that Facebook is unifying its data mining funnel, so it makes work easier on itself to get your data.
So what do I do if I don’t trust Facebook with my Data?
Well, just leave. There are numerous options to WhatsApp out there, with each one having just as many users and promise a great level of security via encryption. They include:
People more obsessed with their online communication security highly recommend Signal messaging app. It is open source, meaning there is a huge number of security experts who are constantly reviewing, testing, and fixing its code. It is also available for free and on across multiple platforms.
This messaging app enjoys over 180 million active users and for long has been considered as one of the most secure messaging apps. Just like WhatsApp, Telegram also offers end-to-end encryption and has an interesting privacy feature, Secret Chats that automatically deletes any photos, videos, and messages once the recipient views them.
However, while you’re on Telegram, you might want to lay off the Bots feature, as they have been reported in recent times to have some security flaws.
This app has over 900 million registered users. It also features end-to-end encryption and has been praised by cybersecurity experts as secure with high-quality calls.
In August 2017, Wickr made its code open source. Thus adding more security credentials to itself. This app is available on both iOS and Android. It also comes fully packed with end-to-end encryption protocol they’re calling Wickr. To spice things up, the developers have given a ‘bug bounty’ to any hackers who can find a vulnerability on this system. This app has become quite popular among enterprise users, and can’t quite be said to be consumer-friendly compared to the other aforementioned apps.