And WhatsApp has continuously assured users that if they had already turned off data sharing with Facebook, their wishes would be met. He said Ars Technica that the change in policy was mainly due to a push work with companies – probably as part of the platform plan for own online business. But the company reiterated that, generally speaking, users don’t have to worry and that there is nothing dystopian or clever about it.
Verification codes are currently being delayed at several vendors as there are many new people trying to join Signal right now (we can barely register our excitement). We are working with carriers to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. Hang on.
– Signal (@signalapp) January 7, 2021
Unfortunately, the way the changes were sent – with no disagreement option beyond closing your account – has sparked hackles around the world. BBC News reports that rival messaging apps like Signal and Telegram have seen renewed interest as people search for alternatives. On January 7, Signal announced that it had slowed down the release of verification codes because “so many new people are trying to join Signal right now.”
It is not clear whether this new intervention will be enough to reassure users that WhatsApp remains safe and secure for them to use. It will be interesting to see if the distance from the platform leads to a drop in the company’s user stats over the next few months.