Stop using WhatsApp if you care about your privacy

Privacy has always been an important feature of WhatsApp. Company co-founder Jan Koum promised to keep user data protected, but after Facebook purchased it, he recommended people stop using WhatsApp.

Privacy has always been an important resource and one of the reasons for the popularity of WhatsApp messaging application. Company co-founder Jan Koum grew up in the Soviet Union under strong government oversight and promised to keep user data protected after Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014. But Koum recently said that perhaps it’s time to quit WhatsApp, for security reasons.

According to The New York Times, as detailed by an anonymous Facebook executive, Koum was increasingly “worried” about Facebook’s focus on collecting and selling user data. He felt that the board of directors of Facebook “provided services that call into question privacy and security issues that he created.”

A WhatsApp engineer also told the newspaper that without Koum, the rest of the team worries that Facebook could change the application to track even more data – and, sometime, even put ads in the application.

WhatsApp says that Facebook is still committed to the privacy and security of the 1.5 billion monthly application users, and with the configuration of end-to-end encryption in the application. The company also pointed to Mark Zuckerberg’s recent speech at F8, where he called Koum “a tireless advocate for privacy and encryption,” and thanked him for helping to make Facebook the “largest fully encrypted communication network in the world.”

That being said, WhatsApp said it could not compromise on the future of the service, as it is about increasing data collection or ads. It’s a reasonable stance, as the company does not want to make a promise now and look terrible if it goes the other way in a few years, but silence does not satisfy privacy advocates.

Facebook already gathers some WhatsApp data. Without Koum in charge, this may increase a move that would not be out of reach of the social network, considering that the business model of the company depends on advertising directed around personal data.

If you care about your privacy enough to delete Facebook (or even change the way you use the social network), you can also think about getting rid of WhatsApp. If you need a new, safer messaging application, there are good options available, such as Telegram, Apple iMessage, Skype, and others.

I can not quit WhatsApp, now what?

You need to use WhatsApp, but do not you want people to know what you’re doing? By default, WhatsApp shares its activity with friends and the public in a variety of ways.

Fortunately, you can use WhatsApp almost completely in secret, at least compared to other users. So, try the tips below to have more privacy while using WhatsApp.

For all of the following procedures, you must access the WhatsApp settings by clicking the three dots> Settings> Account;

1. Disable the last seen

By default, WhatsApp informs your contacts when you last opened the application. You can hide this information so people do not wonder why you’re not responding to their messages.

To do this, open WhatsApp. On Android, tap the three dots in the upper right corner and go to Settings. On iOS, touch Settings at the bottom.

Go to Account> Privacy and click on the “Last viewed” option. Switch from Everyone to My Contacts or No one, depending on your preference.

2. Disable WhatsApp Read Receipts

Read receipts allow the sender of a message to know that you have received it. Two gray check marks mean that WhatsApp delivered your message successfully; they turn blue when the other person reads your message.

They are helpful in confirming that someone has read your message without replying, but you may prefer that the other person not know that you have read her message. To turn them off, go to Settings> Account> Privacy and uncheck Read receipts at the bottom.

3. Hide your WhatsApp profile photo

You may have set a profile photo that your contacts can see while sending messages to you, but would prefer to hide it from people you do not know. Or maybe you’d rather not show your face in WhatsApp.

To change the privacy of your profile photo, go to Settings> Account> Privacy. Select the Profile Photo option and choose All, My Contacts, or Nobody again.

4. Hide status sharing

Do not just be content with messages, WhatsApp also added a “status update” function. Only contacts can see your status, but you can choose exactly which of them take advantage of this privilege.

Go to Settings> Account> Privacy and select Status. You have three options: “My Contacts” shows everyone you know, while “My Contacts except” allows you to specify people to block. Choose “just share with” if you want to restrict your status to just a few selected people.

5. Make sure you are sharing your location

WhatsApp allows you to share your location in real time with contacts. You can do this by tapping the “Attachment” icon in a chat and tapping Location.

Although this is useful for short-term cases, you do not need to share your location with someone for months.

Fortunately, WhatsApp provides a feature to verify this. In the Privacy menu, tap the “real-time location” entry. You’ll see if you’re sharing your location with some chat here and you can disable it.

If you need help, have doubts or concerns, do not hesitate to leave a comment in the comment box below and we will try to help you as soon as possible!

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