Elon Musk, the tech billionaire set to likely soon become the world’s richest man, and one of the most influential voices in the world of tech entrepreneurship, continued his recent trend of criticizing Facebook with a Twitter post late Wednesday night, following the attempted insurrection by pro-Trump rioters at the U.S. Capitol building. Musk shared a meme suggesting the founding of Facebook ultimately led to the day’s disastrous and shameful events.
This is called the domino effect pic.twitter.com/qpbEW54RvM
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, and in 2016 it gave users a one-time chance to opt out of sharing app data with Facebook. A WhatsApp spokeswoman told Ars Technica the change was to allow businesses to store WhatsApp chats using Facebook’s broader infrastructure.
A WhatsApp spokesman did not clarify why the platform decided to make the change but said it would not affect EU- and UK-based users.
The WhatsApp founders Brian Acton and Jan Koum left the company in 2017 and 2018. Acton has spoken about his departure, which followed the decision to introduce ads to WhatsApp, and has called for people to “delete Facebook.”
Koum’s departure was also surrounded by reports that he had clashed with management over the company’s approach to user privacy on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp, the encrypted messaging app that sells itself as a privacy-focused service, will start forcing users to share personal data with Facebook, its parent company.
In an announcement sent to users on Wednesday, WhatsApp said users would have to agree to let Facebook and its subsidiaries collect WhatsApp data including users’ phone numbers, contacts’ phone numbers, locations, and more.
If users do not agree by February 8, they will lose access.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO also recommended that people instead use Signal, an encrypted messaging client that uses encryption by default and which is based on open-source standards. Side-note: If you do end up following Musk’s advice, you should also enable the app’s “disappearing messages” feature for an added layer of protection on both ends of the conversation.
The move prompted calls for users to delete their WhatsApp accounts and switch to smaller encrypted messaging apps such as Signal and Telegram.
“Signal and Telegram are now better alternatives if you are concerned about your privacy,” the TechCrunch editor Mike Butcher tweeted. He shared comparisons of the data WhatsApp collects versus what Signal and Telegram collect.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was among those who recommended users switch services, tweeting, “Use Signal.”