Signal is one of the most secure messaging apps
The update will be released on February 8, 2021, and it will affect WhatsApp users in all countries outside of the UK and Europe, where there are strict data protection laws.
Users in these regions will be required to give their consent for Facebook to access their data in order to continue using the app.
This includes their phone numbers and information about how they interact with others.
It will apply regardless of whether or not the WhatsApp user has a Facebook account.
This has resulted in many people moving to the likes of Signal.
Signal is one of the most secure messaging apps, due to it being open-source.
This means that the code for the app is publicly available to view, making it almost impossible for the app’s creators to include anything that could allow governments or hackers to monitor users’ messages.
When the changes were announced on January 7, 2021, Signal gained 1.2 million downloads while the usually dominant WhatsApp gained just 1.3 million.
WhatsApp installations also fell approximately 13% to 10.3 million downloads in the first seven days of January, compared to the seven days prior.
“We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customise, support, and market our Services and their offerings, including the Facebook Company Products.”
This means Facebook will be able to access account information including phone number, ways of interaction with other users, and logs of how often and how long the app is used.
WhatsApp users have expressed their anger and took to Twitter to announce their departure from the app.
One said: “I’ve just deleted WhatsApp and Instagram from my phone because their new terms and conditions freak me out.”
“Deleted my WhatsApp today. I’ve been using Signal for a while and think it’s brilliant. Hope y’all will join me over there!”
In the UK, WhatsApp is number 10 in the UK download charts, which is much lower than usual. On the other hand, Signal is number one.
WhatsApp has stated that users in the UK and in Europe will not have their data shared with Facebook.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, it is still the case that WhatsApp does not share European region WhatsApp user data with Facebook for the purpose of Facebook using this data to improve its products or advertisements.”