Quitting WhatsApp

on captainepoch's log

Today, January 31st, 2021, I deleted my WhatsApp account.

I have been an user of this platform since, approximately, 10 years. The first time I installed WhatsApp was with my Samsung Galaxy Spica running Android 2.1. By that time, WhatsApp was an application not ran by Facebook. It cost 0.89€ in the Apple AppStore and, for Android, was free (although, technically, the service was 0.89€/year in Android).

I only had to paid once, and I paid gladly, because WhatsApp was a service I was using with a lot of people.

By that time, also, WhatsApp was not encrypted itself. Only the endpoints of the API were encrypted (SSL connections), but not the content users sent through the service. At that time, I really did not care.

Then, I started to worry a bit about my privacy, each day, a bit more. Then, I got where I stand today.

WhatsApp was bought by Facebook. The day news confirmed that, I deleted my account. The next day, I recreated it because, well, I thought “let’s give Facebook an oportunity”. I do not regret that day nor the decision I made. But I regret to keep using it until today.

It would not affect EU users. But that is not the point. The point is: Facebook is doing it, no matter what it says in a blogpost, in a white paper, whatever.

As I pointed out in this toot, in the WhatsApp Encryption White Paper, it suffered a change about the private key. In the original tweet (linked in the toot), another user says that FB still do not have to know about the private key of the user. Still, I do not trust it.

I sent a diffusion message to my contacts notifying them about my decission. I received mixed responses, from “Yeah man, we talk in <insert here another platform>” to “Facebook is just formalizing what it has been done until today” to “Give me your email, I do nt plan to leave WhatsApp but I still want to talk with you!”. It is alright, I did not thing for a moment that the 100% of my contacts would leave.

We have better alternatives. The best way would be using XMPP + OMEMO, or Signal. Telegram is something over WhatsApp, but tha is it (the server is closed source, so we cannot know what happens inside of it, for better or worse).

Anyway, by the time you read through here, it is done. I do not have a WhatsApp account anymore, and I doubt I am going to get one again.

I just don’t trust Facebook. At all.

WhatsApp and the domestication of users.

A (Mostly) Google-Free Android.

Why IRC is Still Good in $CURRENT_YEAR.

If you think you’ve got nothing to hide, you need to read this: ‘I’ve Got Nothing to Hide’ and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy (press in Download this paper).

EU Parliamentary questions: European data protection regulations and legal certainty on privacy safeguards offered by WhatsApp to EU citizens.

EU Parliamentary questions: Safeguarding by Facebook of the privacy of European users of WhatsApp.