WhatsApp’s nightmare week has continued to get worse—a backlash against the scale of its data collection quickly followed by its sudden forcing of new terms of service on its users to share their data with Facebook. Agree to this now or delete your account, it has said. And so, as many users look for alternatives, should you do the same?
WhatsApp has a serious issue—one that hit home hard in the last week. The world’s leading messaging platform claims security and privacy are in its DNA, but it is owned by the world’s most avaricious data harvesting machine. Now this WhatsApp balancing act has just become much harder, as it finds itself threatening users with deleted accounts unless they accept new terms that take effect on February 8.
The inevitable backlash prompted WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart to take to Twitter to set the record straight. The risk for WhatsApp, though, is that defending its awkward relationship with Facebook is a high-risk bubble that may have just burst. And millions of users around the world are now looking at alternatives.
In reality, WhatsApp has had this Facebook issue ever since the social media giant acquired the messaging app back in 2014. So, what has suddenly changed?
If you’ve been following the story over the last month, it will all seem to have started with Apple’s introduction of mandatory privacy labels. Facebook was the most vocal critic of the decision, taking out full page newspaper ads to decry the move. But everyone knows that Facebook is a data machine. WhatsApp, which was arguably hit harder, complained that its data collection was misrepresented, and that Apple’s own iMessage was not subject to the same scrutiny, which was unfair.
Be careful what you wish for, as I commented last week. After WhatsApp complained, Apple published iMessage’s privacy labels—almost as if it had been choreographed. The contrast was stark. WhatsApp’s metadata went much further than iMessage, all of it was linked back to a user and device identity, all those security reporters and protesters that had raised concerns over WhatsApp metadata appeared vindicated.
WhatsApp continued to defend its data privacy—attesting that little was shared with Facebook, that the labelling overlooked its security measures, that all the data was needed to operate a platform serving 2 billion users and 100 billion daily messages. Somewhat missing the point, WhatsApp also suggested that its commercial services and its plans for shopping made comparisons with iMessage unfair.
But the seeds for this latest backlash were actually sown earlier, back in October, when WhatsApp confirmed those shopping plans. Everything that has now prompted such angst was evident back then, including data linkages and WhatsApp messages between consumers and businesses potentially hosted by Facebook. All of this, WhatsApp said at the time, would enable it to “continue building a business of our own, while we provide and expand free end-to-end encrypted text, video and voice calling.”
And this is the crux. WhatsApp is free. But now the price we need to pay for that free service is becoming clear. “Has Facebook finally broken WhatsApp,” I asked back then, when it was already clear that this risk “radical” change to WhatsApp was in train.
And so back to this week. Whether a case of woeful timing or an attempt to get all the bad news out at once, WhatsApp followed the privacy label debacle with the controversial implementation of its forced change in its terms of service. Again, this has been on the cards since last year. And, critically, it has been largely misunderstood.
This isn’t about WhatsApp sharing any more of your general data with Facebook than it does already, this is about using your data and your engagement with its platform to enable shopping and other business services, to provide a platform where businesses can communicate with you and sell to you, all for a price they will pay to WhatsApp. It’s also important to note that there are differences in Europe in what WhatApp can do, given GDPR. WhatsApp does not share data for its European users with Facebook for the enhancement of its products and services—that hasn’t changed.
“As we announced in October,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told me, “WhatsApp wants to make it easier for people to both make a purchase and get help from a business directly on WhatsApp.” But the combination of the words Facebook and data is a red rag to the media, and the backlash has quickly intensified. The fact that the changed terms of service were mandatory, that users would need to accept the change or lose their accounts, made headlines globally and caused a viral stir on social media.
And then Elon Musk stepped in.
The primary beneficiary from WhatsApp’s nightmare week has been Signal, a smaller but more secure alternative. I’ve long advocated for Signal, which has managed to combine the usability of WhatsApp without the same holes in its security and data practices. Signal even offers genuine multi-device access, unlike its larger rival.
“This was inevitable,” says security researcher Sean Wright. “There’s a reason why Facebook bought WhatsApp, I am really surprised that it has taken this long to do it. It’s interesting to see the volume of people appearing to be switching to Signal. And this is a good thing, it means there are alternatives. Personally, after past actions from the likes of Facebook, it’s going to take a lot for them to restore my confidence in them regarding my privacy. I’d much rather use something such as Signal instead. The challenge however is getting others with whom you communicate to switch as well.”
Signal installs have been flying in recent days, and such is the viral nature of messaging that each of those new users will likely attract others. Signal’s marketing doesn’t need to go much further than we’re not Facebook, in reality, WhatsApp has actually been doing the marketing for its rival these past few days. WhatsApp even uses Signal’s own protocol for its encryption, albeit it has a proprietary version of this which is not open-source, unlike Signal itself which shares everything to enable the open-source community to find and report bugs and vulnerabilities.
And so, should you stop using WhatsApp? The short answer is no, nothing has really changed. WhatsApp’s data sharing hasn’t really changed, its security hasn’t changed, it remains the largest end-to-end encrypted platform available, and one that’s likely be used by all those you communicate with. WhatsApp is materially better than SMS and Facebook Messenger, its mainstream alternatives, it is secure cross-platform unlike iMessage, and it’s end-to-end encrypted by default, unlike Telegram.
That’s the short answer. The longer answer is more complicated. WhatsApp has turned a long-expected corner, it is now embarking on a journey to better monetize its users. But while your messages are secure, protected from prying eyes (while that level of encryption is allowed by governments worldwide), your data could become fair game as the platform builds its commercial offerings and risks falling to the temptation that data might provide as it looks to accelerate those revenue models.
As ESET’s Jake Moore points out, “privacy focused apps are the flavor of 2021, but the small print has often been missed. Unfortunately, being told that an app is unavailable unless you agree may not be best. It is inevitable that we will see people move away from these apps to those that better protect our data.”
WhatsApp’s response to Apple’s privacy labels should not have been to defend its data collection—Signal, iMessage and others manage to operate without linking all that data back to their users. WhatsApp should have accepted that its data collection is out of step with other secure messengers and changed its practices.
WhatsApp needs to decide whether its priority is commercializing or securing its userbase. For a time at least this week, Signal found itself going head to head for installs with Facebook, beating Messenger and with just WhatsApp to catch. But, the reality is that WhatsApp can afford to lose millions of concerned users as a trade-off to its commercial plans, knowing that it will retain the vast, indifferent majority.
“I get the ire of people that hate that WhatsApp being a Facebook asset is now being brought seemingly under its rod of monetization through data sharing and targeted advertising,” says cybersecurity analyst Mike Thompson. “But who knows what normal users out there are thinking. No one asks them and so they will continue to use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger and life will go on. People will have more of their personal data utilized in monetization campaigns as the Earth continues to rotate.”
And so, for those of you weighing up the decision as to what you do next, here’s my advice. First, regardless of the specific changes being implemented, there are no short term risks. You can take your time. But this is clearly the new direction for WhatsApp, running counter to promises it has made in years gone by to keep the platform commercial-free. If you value secure messaging above all, this is a good time to play with alternatives—you’ll find many of your contacts now doing the same.
Second, there is a longer-term aspiration on Facebook’s part to fully integrate the backends of WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram—and while there are questions around WhatsApp’s data, the privacy labels for the other two are shockingly bad. And so whatever your view on this current change to WhatsApp, you’d be brave to bet against further changes in the future. It comes down to those competing priorities—are you Facebook’s customer or are you its product.
Ultimately, once the dust has settled on this week, the question will remain as to whether this is the beginning of the end for the simple messenger Facebook acquired all those years ago. Has the data giant made a decision to take WhatsApp down a different path, step by step, until it aligns with the rest of its empire. If so, all those fears from 2014 will have been proven true.
Facebook Confirms Its Working On 'Facial Recognition' Technology – Baystreet.ca
Social media giant Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has confirmed media reports that the company is planning to incorporate facial recognition technology into its upcoming smart glasses device.
Facebook’s head of hardware, Andrew Bosworth, confirmed the facial recognition technology, saying “We’re looking at it.
“It’s really a debate we need to have with the public,” Bosworth added. “If people don’t want this technology, we don’t have to supply it. The product is going to be fine either way. There are some nice use cases out there, if it’s something people are comfortable with.”
Facebook has been apparently debating the legal implications of facial recognition technology internally for some time now. The company has said it is on track to release its smart glasses product in partnership with Luxottica, the maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses, later this year.
Civil liberties advocates have cautioned against using facial recognition technology, warning that it could further erode people’s personal privacy and lead to the profiling of citizens.
Nvidia starts boosting frame rates by up to 10 percent on 30-series GPUs – The Verge
Nvidia has started to roll out support for Resizable BAR, a feature of PCI Express that can boost frame rates in certain games by up to 10 percent. The new RTX 3060 graphics card is the first to include Resizable BAR, which allows certain CPUs to access the full graphics frame buffer, instead of being limited to reading just 256MB blocks. Support for other 30-series GPUs will be available in late March.
You’ll need the right CPU, motherboard, and graphics card to utilize this new feature, and Nvidia is working with both AMD and Intel to provide chipset support. AMD’s Zen 3 CPUs are supported, alongside Intel’s 10th Gen processors and the company’s upcoming 11th Gen S chips.
Much like AMD’s Smart Access Memory, Resizable BAR on Nvidia GPUs can boost frame rates in certain games by up to 10 percent. The boost is really game dependent, and resolution can also impact how much performance will increase. “In our testing, we’ve found some titles benefit from a few percent, up to 10 percent,” says Nvidia. “However, there are also titles that see a decrease in performance.”
Nvidia is pre-testing titles and using special game profiles to enable Resizable BAR only where the performance increases. The following games are currently supported:
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla
- Battlefield V
- Borderlands 3
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gears 5
- Metro Exodus
- Red Dead Redemption 2
- Watch Dogs: Legion
Additional games will be supported in late March, when Nvidia launches VIOS updates for the rest of its 30-series GPUs. Nvidia will supply VBIOS updates for all Founders Edition 30-series cards, and board partners will also release their own updates. You’ll also need a motherboard update that includes the necessary CPU support, and Nvidia says Asus, Asrock, Colorful, Evga, Gigabyte, and MSI have all started supporting Resizable BAR on select motherboards.
Resizable BAR support on the AMD side has been tested widely, and TechSpot found that some games making use of Smart Access Memory could see nearly a 20 percent boost at 1440p and 4K.
'Final Fantasy VII Remake' soundtrack comes to streaming services today – Yahoo Movies Canada
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Further, country-level Food Amino Acid Market value is also provided.Scope of the Report Global Food Amino Acid Market Industry size, 2020-2027Market trends, drivers, restraints, and opportunitiesPorter’s Five forces analysisTypes of Food Amino Acid, 2020-2027Food Amino Acid applications and end-user verticals market size, 2020-2027Food Amino Acid Market size across countries, 2020-20275 leading companies in the industry – overview, key strategies, financials, and productsLatest market news and developments Key Topics Covered: 1. Table of Contents1.1 List of Tables1.2 List of Figures2. Food Amino Acid Market Latest Trends, Drivers and Challenges, 2020 -20272.1 Food Amino Acid Market Overview2.2 Post COVID Strategies of Leading Food Amino Acid Companies2.3 Food Amino Acid Market Insights, 2021-20272.3.1 Leading Food Amino Acid types, 2021-20272.3.2 Leading Food Amino Acid End-User industries, 2021-20272.3.3 Fast-Growing countries for Food Amino Acid sales, 2021-20272.4 Food Amino Acid Market Drivers and Restraints2.4.1 Food Amino Acid Demand Drivers to 20272.4.2 Food Amino Acid Challenges to 20272.5 Food Amino Acid Market-Five Forces Analysis2.5.1 Food Amino Acid Industry Attractiveness Index, 20202.5.2 Threat of New Entrants2.5.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers2.5.4 Bargaining Power of Buyers2.5.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry2.5.6 Threat of Substitutes3. Global Food Amino Acid Market Value, Market Share, and Forecast to 20273.1 Global Food Amino Acid Market Overview, 20203.2 Global Food Amino Acid Market Revenue and Forecast, 2021-2027 (US$ Million)3.3 Global Food Amino Acid Market Size and Share Outlook by Type, 2021-20273.4 Global Food Amino Acid Market Size and Share Outlook by End-User, 2021-20273.5 Global Food Amino Acid Market Size and Share Outlook by Region, 2021-20274. Asia Pacific Food Amino Acid Market Value, Market Share and Forecast to 20274.1 Asia Pacific Food Amino Acid Market Overview, 20204.2 Asia Pacific Food Amino Acid Market Revenue and Forecast, 2021-2027 (US$ Million)4.3 Asia Pacific Food Amino Acid Market Size and Share Outlook by Type, 2021-20274.4 Asia Pacific Food Amino Acid Market Size and Share Outlook by End-User, 2021-20274.5 Asia Pacific Food Amino Acid Market Size and Share Outlook by Country, 2021-20274.6 Key Companies in Asia Pacific Food Amino Acid Market5. 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North America Food Amino Acid Market Value, Market Share and Forecast to 20276.1 North America Food Amino Acid Market Overview, 20206.2 North America Food Amino Acid Market Revenue and Forecast, 2021-2027 (US$ Million)6.3 North America Food Amino Acid Market Size and Share Outlook by Type, 2021-20276.4 North America Food Amino Acid Market Size and Share Outlook by End-User, 2021-20276.5 North America Food Amino Acid Market Size and Share Outlook by Country, 2021-20276.6 Key Companies in North America Food Amino Acid Market7. 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Middle East Africa Food Amino Acid Market Value, Market Share and Forecast to 20278.1 Middle East Africa Food Amino Acid Market Overview, 20208.2 Middle East and Africa Food Amino Acid Market Revenue and Forecast, 2021-2027 (US$ Million)8.3 Middle East Africa Food Amino Acid Market Size and Share Outlook by Type, 2021-20278.4 Middle East Africa Food Amino Acid Market Size and Share Outlook by End-User, 2021-20278.5 Middle East Africa Food Amino Acid Market Size and Share Outlook by Country, 2021-20278.6 Key Companies in Middle East Africa Food Amino Acid Market9. Food Amino Acid Market Structure9.1 Key Players 9.2 Food Amino Acid Companies – Key Strategies and Financial Analysis9.2.1 Snapshot9.2.3 Business Description9.2.4 Products and Services9.2.5 Financial Analysis10. Food Amino Acid Industry Recent Developments11 Appendix11.1 Publisher Expertise11.2 Research Methodology11.3 Annual Subscription Plans11.4 Contact InformationFor more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/gxye7j CONTACT: CONTACT: ResearchAndMarkets.com Laura Wood, Senior Press Manager email@example.com For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470 For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630 For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900
Cision Brings PR, Social Media Management and Digital Consumer Intelligence Together with Category-Defining Acquisition of Brandwatch – Canada NewsWire
Facebook Confirms Its Working On 'Facial Recognition' Technology – Baystreet.ca
A look at COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021 – ThePeterboroughExaminer.com
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