Another scandal with American Internet companies is unfolding in the world.
This time it was triggered by the actions of the world’s most popular messenger – WhatsApp. It forces its users to consent to the transfer of their data to Facebook, the company that owns this service.
After that, a wave of criticism of WhatsApp began on the Web, and in one of the countries, its use for government officials was banned. Many users refuse the messenger.
Interestingly, this is all happening in the midst of two parallel processes. On the one hand, the American authorities decided to split up Mark Zuckerberg’s company as a monopoly on the Internet messenger market.
On the other hand, the social network and its other colleagues in the IT business recently introduced real censorship in the United States, banning President Donald Trump and his supporters.
The “country” understood why the world again started talking about the Internet monopoly of the Americans.
What’s the problem with WhatsApp?
“As part of the Facebook Companies, WhatsApp receives and shares information from other Facebook companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help develop, provide, improve, understand, customize, maintain and promote our services, including Facebook products, “the application’s website states.
That is, the personal data of users – their correspondence, geolocation, transactions – will now be available to all companies that are part of the “family” of Mark Zuckerberg.
New users are prompted to accept the new policy by default. Also, notification of this comes existing. Moreover, it is said that after February 8, the application will not work without the approval of the new policy.
However, at the moment, if you click “Not now” and abandon the new policy, the messenger continues to work and sends messages. That is, WhatsApp hasn’t disconnected its users yet.
However, many no longer wait until everything finally happens. A wave of dissatisfaction with the messenger went on the Internet. To which WhatsApp responded even more interestingly – that it has already shared information with FB and since 2016.
As a result, dissatisfaction with the messenger went international.
In Turkey, the presidential administration has announced that it will switch to the local messenger BiP and remove its groups in the US app. For Erdogan, some ministries and departments did the same. After that, the number of BiP subscribers has grown by a million people in Turkey.
The authorities of this country in general have recently been campaigning against foreign social networks, demanding that they open representative offices in Ankara and work within the legal framework of Turkey. Moreover, this process is taking place not only there.
In India, the Traders Association has approached the government and asked to ban the messenger from implementing the new policy.
“The government should immediately ban WhatsApp from implementing the new policy – or ban WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook,” the association said in a statement.
They fear that “all kinds of personal data, payment transactions, contacts, location and other important information of a person using WhatsApp could be used for any purpose.” And they remind us that in this way the United States can receive correspondence and other data of two hundred million Indians who use Facebook.
In India, local media are already releasing materials on which messengers to switch to – among them, the popular Telegram is recommended.
A well-known businessman Elon Musk laconically suggested switching to the Signal messenger.
Also a good example of Russia. Before the New Year, Putin signed a law that contains a whole list of prescriptions for social networks that are controlled from abroad. In particular, the blocking of Google, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube is provided if they begin to introduce censorship against Russian citizens or the media. That is if they block their accounts. In response to this, the Russian authorities, under the new laws, are entitled to impose sanctions against them – from fines to blocking.
This is not yet directly related to WhatsApp, but the global trend is developing rapidly – regional or world powers are beginning to severely limit American dominance on the Internet.
However, this is due to the position of the Americans themselves. Recently, they have turned their Internet companies on the one hand into big data monopolies and are monitoring users around the world (as evidenced by the story with WhatsApp).
On the other hand, they introduced political censorship. In particular, the same Facebook, which owns Whatsapp, has banned President Donald Trump for two weeks and continues to block his supporters who oppose election fraud. In fact, taking the side of one of the candidates – Joe Biden.
All this has already raised serious questions about how social networks will further influence the elections outside the United States.
But the American authorities themselves, in general, are not very enthusiastic about how Internet monopolies crush users and accumulate huge amounts of data on people.
Case against Facebook
Less than a month ago, the Federal Trade Commission under the US government filed a lawsuit against the world’s largest social network. In her opinion, having bought Instagram and Whatsapp, Zuckerberg’s company broke the competition and became a monopolist – as it bought up promising competitors.
Instagram is a growing social network that came under Facebook’s control back in 2012. And WhatsApp, which competed with FB messenger, became part of Mark Zuckerberg’s empire two years later.
Why this monopoly was not of interest to the US government earlier is anyone’s guess. But what is clear is that what is happening is not Trump’s personal revenge for Facebook flagging his posts as inaccurate during the presidential election. A more global process.
It is known that the attorneys general of most states – in the amount of 46 people – spoke in support of the claim. That is, it is a combined team of Democrats and Republicans. They demanded that Facebook sell Instagram and WhatsApp. And in the future, carry out such transactions only with the permission of the authorities.
And the other day, the Attorney General of Texas filed a new lawsuit on Facebook, accusing him and Google of collusion in the online advertising market. Now work is underway to merge this case with the one that was opened earlier by the trade commission.
That is, very gloomy clouds are gathering over the social network. By the way, many explain exactly this the zeal of the social network in blocking Donald Trump. Opinions have been expressed that by doing so, the Internet giants are trying to earn the confidence of the new presidential administration. And, accordingly, to avoid antitrust decisions on their part.
However, even if the issue can be “resolved” in the United States, the specified problems still remain surveillance of users and censorship. This will cause both resistance from national governments (and this has already begun) and user migration to other platforms.
A blow from the “Telegram”
WhatsApp problems have always been responsive to their Telegram competitors. Its creator Pavel Durov, after a new wave of censorship scandals, issued a new portion of criticism of the messenger.
He recalled that for many years WhatsApp had no encryption at all and was “transparent” to hackers and the US government. And then he encrypted his data – but on the basis of the protocol that the American authorities created.
That is, American intelligence services can read messages sent via WhatsApp.
Durov said his competitors do not publish their code, but instead obfuscate it so that privacy and encryption checks cannot be performed. In general, the main message of the creator of the “cart” – WhatsApp does not respect users and siphons data from them.
Telegram’s positions are growing rapidly. If we take Europe and the USA, it now has, according to various estimates, 3-4th place. Durov believes that the surge in Telegram installs will begin after the application launches monetization for users (that is, allows them to make money on content).
However, so far Telegram is four times behind the world leader – WhatsApp. And its growth to the level of its closest competitors is not a matter of one year. However, it’s safe to say that the latest data-per-user scandals will accelerate this process.