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WhatsApp delays roll-out of new privacy policy until May

Signal and Telegram are trending instead

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Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

WhatsApp rolled out a new privacy policy that clearly specifies how the instant messaging app will leverage your data for monetization. But the new privacy policy is on hold.

WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, has announced that it will delay enforcing its new privacy terms from February 8 to May 15. In the blog post, the company says that none of its privacy-focused features are changing.

“We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15,” the statement said.

It faced massive backlash as users are worried about their personal data. When the privacy policy changes went public last week, the response from the public was downright brutal. Alternative apps like Telegram and Signal started trending worldwide as users started joining it in hopes of ditching WhatsApp.

Even though WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, Facebook will still fetch some crucial information like your transactions, location, and other behavioral data from linked Instagram profile. And, we all know Facebook has a nasty reputation as far as personal data management is concerned. What makes it even more outrageous is that the policy is leave or take, and there’s no third option.

In the wording used, WhatsApp says the new privacy policy will change how it partners with Facebook to “offer integrations” and that businesses can use Facebook services to manage WhatsApp chats. It said that hat all private messages between friends and family members will remain end-to-end encrypted.

According to a CNBC report, India’s technology ministry also asked WhatsApp to withdraw planned changes to its privacy policy that has drawn widespread backlash.

Apps

TikTok, Tencent linked to sexually violent ads on Facebook

Ads continue to run on platform

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Facebook has an ad problem. After spending years on the platform, you might have noticed a plethora of misplaced ads occasionally peppered on your feed. Though most users cringe at how the algorithm can uncannily show appropriate ads right after talking about a certain topic, a series of more off-putting, offensive, and disturbing ads is making the rounds on the social media platform. Now, following a deep dive, a report has found that ByteDance and Tencent are affiliated with the phenomenon.

What are these Facebook ads? In a report from Forbes’s Emily Baker-White, several web novel companies are advertising erotic content on the platform. However, more than just erotica, these ads promote sexual, violence, rape, and self-harm. Some are even using images of popular personalities without their permission.

A particularly egregious example involves a photo of a crying woman in the shower with the caption: “his personal cum bucket.” A few others are more up front about harming women to get sex.

Others depict scenes from Twilight and Star Wars, despite not being affiliated at all with the titles. Several companies and personalities contacted by Forbes confirmed that they did not give these novel apps any permission to use their likeness.

As for the deep dive, a good number of these companies were previously backed by either ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, or Tencent, one of the biggest Chinese companies in the world. While ByteDance has claimed that the apps don’t reflect their values, these ads continue to proliferate around the platform. Tencent has likewise denied any involvement with the campaigns.

It’s also worth nothing that the apps aren’t limited to just China. One app, called Pinky Novel, operates from the Philippines and is spreading similarly troubling ads everywhere, including one that says, “Raped by Mr. CEO.”

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Android users can react to SMS messages from iPhones soon

While simultaneously annoying iPhone users

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One of the most unexpected small developments this year is the war of the green bubble. For a while now, Apple has kept Android users inside a green text bubble. If an Android user texts an iOS user, an iPhone conveniently lets its user know that someone is texting them from — gasp — an Android phone. Now, Google, in the next step of its crusade against the green bubble, is running a similar experiment of its own.

Recently, as spotted by Reddit user u/Jabjab345 (via GSMArena), Google is testing a new feature for Android users. In a beta version, users can start reacting to SMS messages from an iPhone. Of course, much like how it is from the other way around, there is a little hiccup.

In most web-based messaging services, reactions are often tiny bubbles attached to one corner of the message. However, since iOS and Android use different systems, it doesn’t work that way between the two platforms. Instead, if an iOS user reacts to an Android user’s message, users get a separate message with the emoji reaction. Now (or after the beta, at least), Android will treat iOS in the same way, sending iOS users a separate message for reactions.

Right now, the feature is still in beta. However, an implementation is par for the course. Previously, Google threw some shade at Apple for not adopting the system that the former uses. In retaliation, Tim Cook recently told a user to just buy their mom an iPhone if texting was such an issue.

SEE ALSO: Apple on adopting Android’s features: Just ‘buy your mom an iPhone’

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TikTok officially launches a dislike button

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Months ago, TikTok started experimenting with a dislike button for the platform’s comments. Much like other platforms, the company is creating a way to promote healthier discourse. However, the experiment never had a launch date all those months ago. Finally, after months in development, TikTok is finally ready to launch the dislike button.

Through the platform’s official Twitter account, TikTok is releasing the dislike button. This time, the platform has explained how the feature will work.

As detailed before, users will not see how many dislikes a comment has. Users will only have access to the button itself to dislike and retract dislikes. Only TikTok itself can see the number of dislikes. The platform will then use the information to filer through potential hate speech and harassment that they might have missed the first go-around.

By hiding the number of dislikes, TikTok hopes that users will not be tempted to abuse the dislike button to brigade against just simply unpopular opinions.

While moderation will help the platform with a persistent problem in social media, the company does have other issues. One current problem — that has plagued the platform for years now — is the issue of China’s potential access to data from users in other countries.

SEE ALSO: TikTok is experimenting with a dislike button for comments

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