If you look how most people handle the subject „new media“/“social media“/ messenger, you can hardly believe it.
Adults deliberately look away, just to avoid to do something. They try to avoid to say „no“. It is so much easier to look away and hope that nobody will call them out. But nowadays with the internet, there is no excuse anymore not to be informed. You have all the information you need at your fingertips. You can not excuse yourself by saying „…I did not know that…“
Centuries ago, the romans had a phrase for this. In Latin:
Ignorantia iuris nocet – Ignorance does not protect against punishment.
In Germany there have been already lawsuits regarding this and people had to pay a huge fine for using WhatsApp. Although it was only their kid who used WhatsApp. I am sure that in other european countries similar actions are taken. But I have no time to do the research for this. This is up to you. 🙂
Below I put the most frequently asked question regarding WhatsApp together. During my voluntary youth work many parents came to me and asked questions about it. For their kids and for themselves. This compilation should cover 99% of the information you need to make a decison how you want to handle this in the future. So do not tell the next time, you did not know it 😉
Why do I write all this stuff at all?
I want to save time. Because I do not want to answer always the same questions, which is quite time consuming, I put this site online. Originally in German (www.warumthreema.de), but soon friends asked me for something similar for their friends abroad. So here we are with an English version 🙂
During voluntary youth work in a fieldhockey sport club, I did a lot of research regarding „messengers“ within the last couple of years. Messengers are important for the youth and for many parents. But as soon as you do the communication with your members via messengers, you are also responsible and you assume liability. So it make sense to really check this out. Same problem with messengers in public schools and colleges.
The way WhatsApp is „taking“ all information from your smartphone makes you responsibile for everything what happens afterwards with these data. Whether you like it or not. Whether you look away or not. It is a fact and there is no way around it. You can not hide yourself behind „alternative facts“. Simply bite the bullet and learn to live with it. You are responsible for everything you do.
The second reason is to put an end to this never-ending marketing-blabla in the media about messengers with wrong statements. So instead of answering always the same questions, I can say now: Just look it up at www.whythreema.com and call it a day. 🙂
Latest upon May 2018 with the introduction of the GDPR in Europe, you should wake up and have a closer look at what WhatsApp is doing with the data of your friends. Even in the US, although there is no GDPR, you should really be aware about what you are doing with WhatsApp.
Why no WhatsApp?
The short answer is:
If you install and use WhatsApp, you violate data protection/privacy. In some countries you make yourself liable to prosecution and penal sanctions. Also as a private person.
On the German sister site I linked to judgements of lawsuits regarding WhatsApp.
It does not help, if millions of other people do the same. In a lawsuite, no Judge cares how many others did that. You are responsible for what you are doing, no matter what others are doing.
My guess is, that sooner or later, this will be handled like pirate copies in the music and film industry. At the beginning, nobody took it serious, later the lawyers made a lot of money with it by sending mass-warnings with fines out to the people.
But almost everybody has WhatsApp?
That is the most popular counterargument. 🙂
Who is everybody? With whom do you really communicate over WhatsApp? With WhatsApp users in China or India?
According to this, you should even not use WhatsApp. Because a lot more people have Email than WhatsApp 🙂
Seriously, how many friends do you have?
Stay realistic. Everyone has a limited circle of friends with whom you do communicate. Let’s assume you have 50 friends (which is already a very high number). This looks already a lot smaller than „millions of WhatsApp users“, right?
Now you realize, that is actually up to you to change something, if you really want it. Yes, you can! No lame excuses anymore 😉
I do not care whether WhatsApp has my data. My data are everywhere anyway…
This argument is also very popular. If we would live our life with this attitude, we would never change anything in life. Others would decide about us, what we like, what we do and how we do it. Do you really want that?
Of course this attitude is very convenient. Because you never have to do something or stand up for something. It is always the fault of someone else. Never ours. And this leads to the excuse that it is out of your power to change it.
I have nothing to hide…
Very similar to the argumentation above. But it has nothing to do with hiding something.The point is that everybody shall have the right to decide for him/herself, what kind of data is going somehwere. It is NOT YOU who shall decide about the data of your friends. You should rather ask your friends first, whether you are allowed at all to give their addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, images etc. away.
This is the core issue. Most WhatsApp users do think, that it is about THEIR OWN data. NO! We do not care about what you do with your own data. It is about the data of all the other people in your addressbook, in your images etc. pp. You do not have the right to decide about those data without asking these people first!
If you do something and you know, you will catch a cold with this, this is you decision. But it is not ok, if you give that cold to all your friends, just because you are in the mood to do so. Nothing else happens with WhatsApp. Even worse, in contrast to a cold, which is over after a few days, the data will be used from WhatsApp with no limit in time and place. You sold all data to them forever just because you wanted to save some pennies for a „threema“ licence or use the free app „signal“ instead.
So please stop to play down the consequences of using WhatsApp, just to displace your bad conscience 😉
There is a funny video about how people behave in real life. Unfortunately it is not in English, but you will understand it nevertheless.
A danish journal for consumer protection installed a hidden camera in a bakery in 2015. The salesperson in the bakery was trained to ask questions to the people when they want to buy a bread etc.
Questions like: when is the birthday of your mother, the phone number of your friend, when do you do this or that etc.. You get the point. All these data are taken from WhatsApp when installing this app on your phone. But the same people who use WhatsApp or similar apps, do not want to give these data in real life situations to someone else. Now think about this for a moment.
With this experiment you can see, that the „gut instinct“ is correct. But as soon as you use an app, you overrule your gut instinct that you are doing here something, that is not ok anymore. Just watch the video. It is really funny to see the reactions in their faces…
By the way, noone of your friends will cancel your friendship, if you stop using WhatsApp. And you will still get all necessary information about your life 🙂
There are alternatives to WhatsApp out there. You just have overcome your own comfort:)
What is the minimum age for WhatsApp?
As a rule of thumb, you can say that since the introduction of the GDPR in Europe in May 2018, the minimum age is 16 in Europe. This is important if you have a discussion with your kids about messengers in general and WhatsApp.
What do you actually know about WhatsApp?
This is a question everybody should aks himself. The founder of WhatsApp, Jan Koum, does not show any kind of data of him on social media or the internet. Nothing. It seems that data protection and privacy is important to him. Hold that thought for a minute… 🙂
He has neither a Facebook Profile (WhatsApp was sold in 2014 for 19 Billion USD to Facebook), nor does WhatsApp shows the exact location of the corporate headquarter. All interview requests of journalists have been denied from WhatsApp. There is a report on the German TV about the founder of WhatsApp and the business practice of WhatsApp. Obviously only in German:
If I use a phone from my company and use WhatsApp on it, do I need to delet it now?
Legally: In Europe – Yes. Because of GDPR. See the short video of the magazine Chip und Focus Online (in German) about it:
Why do you still use WhatsApp?
I always ask this question to my friends after they read the site and know now everything they need to know to make an objective decision. Some of them switch, some others do not, although they do agree that WhatsApp actually makes no sense.
The reaction to this question is funny. They search for excuses. Mostly the argumentation which I posted above and which has been already prooven to be wrong. Then I have to smile. Human beeings…
In my experience, there are only 2 reasons why poeple still use WhatsApp, after having read all the information on this site. Either they are to lazy and hope, that they do not get caught into something in the future or they are simply to stingy to pay i.e. 3€/$ for an App (but Signal is for free…)
Do not try to missionize them. It will not work. Save your time and relax. They will do the step sooner or later, as soon as more pressure comes from outside. But it is not your job to „convert“ them.
You can buy/donate them a Threema Licence. From time to time there are sales at Threema. You can buy then i.e. 10 Threema licences in bulk and give them away to your friends. This is how I did it. One excuse less not to use Threema.
But most important is, that your friends know that you do not have WhatsApp and if they want to communicate with you via Messenger, they need to use either Threema or Signal. This has a lot more power than discussions all night about the pros and cons of WhatsApp 😉
Why Threema instead of WhatsApp?
Threema gives you everything what WhatsApp offers. You will not miss anything. But with Threema or Signal, you you do not sell the data of your friends.
I do not talk about encryption. I do talk about the business model of WhatsApp. They make money with selling the data to others.
Threema earns money by selling their licences. Fair and transparent.
Threema does not save data on their servers. It is all yours.
All data stay on your local phone/device.
More information about Threema in the section“Questions bout Threema„.
How can I delete WhatsApp?
Since WhatsApp is part of Facebook, it is not a surprise that deleting WhatsApp from your smartphone is not really deleting it 🙂
It is NOT enough to deinstall the App from your smartphone. You have first to delete your WhatsApp account. This is the way to do it (as of 2018):
Open WhatsApp. In the upper right hand corner click on the 3 points -> Settings-> Account -> Delete my Account -> type your mobile phone number, which you used for WhatsApp, in the field and click below that on the red button „delete“.
Open WhatsApp. Click on the lower right hand corner on „Settings“ -> Delete my Account -> type your mobile phone number, which you used for WhatsApp, in the field and click below that on the red button „delete“.
I do not have WhatsApp myself, so I can not make screenshots of it.