‘Explore other social messaging platforms with respectable privacy limits’ – FG warns against WhatsApp

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has advised Nigerians to be cautious of privacy concerns while they use the world’s most popular instant social messaging platform, WhatsApp.

NITDA expressed this worry in a press statement issued and made available to NewsWireNGR on Tuesday.

As a solution, NITDA urged Nigerians to explore other social messaging platforms with respectable privacy limits.

“The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) under Section 6 (f) of the NITDA Act 2007 wishes to provide this advisory to Nigerians to address Nigerian concerns on changes to Whatsapp Terms of Service and Privacy Policy which took effect on 15th May, 2021.

Millions of Nigerians use Whatsapp platform for business, social, educational, and other purposes. The platform is the social media platform of choice for many Nigerians,” NITDA said in the statement.

Since late 2020, WhatsApp has suffered a mass exodus of users over updates that made it collect more private data from users and share these data with Facebook, its parent company. This exodus was further triggered by allegations that Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg does not use WhatsApp over the privacy concerns.

Some of these data collected by WhatsApp and shared with Facebook as contained in the NITDA statement includes:

account information;
messages (including undelivered messages, media forwarding);
status information;
transactions and payments data;
usage and log information;
device and connection information;
location information;
cookies etc.

Other information collected by Whatsapp include:
battery level;
signal strength;
app version;
browser information;
mobile network;
connection information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP), language and time zone;
Internet Protocol address;
device operations information;
social media identifiers.”

Because of the sensitivity of these data, NITDA advised Nigerians to explore other platforms like Signal, Telegram and others who have a respectability privacy limit when it collects data.

It said, “Nigerians may wish to note that there are other available platforms with similar functionalities which they may wish to explore. Choice of platform should consider data sharing practices, privacy, ease of use among others; and

“Limit the sharing of sensitive personal information on private messaging and social media platforms as the initial promise of privacy and security is now being overridden on the bases of business exigency.”

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