A few days ago, Facebook presented a new feature that will allow companies to reach out to their customers via the WhatsApp Business API. The declared purpose behind this new API is that of shortening the distance among businesses and people, making it possible to start a chat about the various offered services, or ask for information about previously made orders. At the same time though, it will pave the way for targeted promotions directly on your WhatsApp instance - whether you were asking for it or not.
The official press release by Facebook stressed that the WhatsApp Business API will also play a key role in establishing fruitful connections with new customers thanks to the so called “Facebook Ads that click to WhatsApp” tool, allowing businesses to receive metrics on their WhatsApp campaign performance.
The only thing that will prevent any business from spamming its WhatsApp contact list with promotions is the fee businesses would need to pay to “send certain messages”.
Ask yourself the real question.
While the media are wondering if this new tool will be a game changer for marketing, little or no attention has been placed on the privacy issue.
So, let’s presume that you care about your privacy. Should you be worried?
It depends on what you mean by privacy. On its official website, WhatsApp has been reassuring its users that the conversations started with any business will always remain end-to-end encrypted.
Many messaging apps are using end-to-end encryption as a security system - WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, Signal, to name a few - and the term has somehow become a synonym to privacy, even though they are two greatly different things.
What’s the point of all this end-to-end encryption if you are still targeted by ads anyway? Isn’t it time to realize that if a platform is secure, it does not also imply that our privacy will be respected?
End-to-end encryption preserves your messages from being read by third parties, but this doesn't inherently mean that nobody is collecting data from your conversations. If you consider the company behind your messaging application a “third party” in your conversations, then you need to understand that your messages may not be truly shielded from all “third parties”.
Privacy is our unbreakable right to keep to ourselves our most intimate and sensitive intel; the right to shy away from undesired intrusion and to reject whatever annoying ad we are forced to “shove down our throats” every day - no matter how well they fit our digital profile.
The appropriate question to ask is then: why are we still committed to the idea that making money is impossible, unless we push ads in the face of users?
A turn in tide is possible, in the light of a respectful and transparent approach to people using messaging apps. After all, our goal at Wafer to enable people express their own unique personality, anywhere and to anyone in the world, without limits or intrusion on our part.
This is why we at Wafer have made privacy, and the right to privacy, one of our crucial concerns. We strongly believe that another approach is possible, one where respect for the user’s privacy is indisputable on a market leading communication platform. Wafer Messenger does not perform any sort of data mining, does not read your messages and does not push any ad to you. And this is what all others should do, too.
Over the past months we have been receiving a lot of positive feedback on the privacy topic from many of our users, out of the hundreds of thousands that already joined Wafer Messenger. Your positivity has motivated us even more to lead the way in terms of transparency and privacy. We hope other mobile applications will see our success and join this revolution soon.