A friend sent me this piece about WhatsApp’s new pri­vacy policy, ask­ing for my take on it: ‘Expert: No need to pan­ic over new What­s­App policy’.

All right, in brief, here’s my take.

The WhatsApp logo with a Facebook F in it instead of the original phone receiver.

I can only speak for myself. I’m not one to pan­ic eas­ily, or so I hope, much less over a mes­saging app. I’ve read up about the announced changes to the terms. In par­tic­u­lar, I’m aware of the busi­ness aspects of the endeav­our. I also know about the con­tinu­ing end-to-end encryp­tion of indi­vidu­al What­s­App chats.

My linger­ing gen­er­al con­cern is, What­s­App is Face­book, and as the pub­lic had to learn the hard way, Face­book lies. When Face­book acquired What­s­App, they swore not to do cer­tain things with the app, only to imple­ment them any­way a few years later. If I coun­ted cor­rectly, this is the third iter­a­tion of this beha­viour. It’s a pattern.

I use mes­saging for sens­it­ive com­mu­nic­a­tion (law­yer­ing, arbit­ra­tion, medi­ation). Not because I want to, mind – as far as I’m con­cerned, we could stick to end-to-end-encryp­ted e‑mail forever. In any case, I don’t want Face­book or What­s­App to milk even only the metadata of these com­mu­nic­a­tions. When asked, nor do my cli­ents or oth­ers I com­mu­nic­ate with. Not to men­tion the risk of third parties access­ing such metadata or oth­er per­son­al data, which has happened in the past, with or without Facebook’s knowledge.

Over­all, I feel What­s­App no longer deserves the trust I’ve had in it for a few years, since I went back to using it after they intro­duced end-to-end encryp­tion. Sig­nal (and, with some restric­tions, Tele­gram), here I am!