The popular Facebook-owned chat app WhatsApp relies on strong end-to-end encryption to protect the privacy of hundreds of millions of users around the world. However, over the past year, this technology has come under fire from government officials, who fear it could be used by bad actors to cover their crimes on social media platforms. That’s why WhatsApp leader Will Cathcart recently penned an impassioned defense of encryption, saying that web users would be “paralyzed” without their privacy.
“Surrendering our privacy would paralyze us,” Cathcart wrote. “The power of technology is that it lets us connect at extraordinary speed and scale and democratizes information better than anything ever invented. But if we choose to erode our privacy and security, it will do the opposite. Instead of sharing our ideas, it will shut them down. Instead of bringing us closer together, it will keep us apart. Instead of giving everyone in the world a voice, it will silence us.”
Though Cathcart didn’t mean to make this point, his piece could be interpreted as a criticism of Facebook. After all, the social media giant has promised end-to-end encryption for Facebook Messenger for two years, yet the company has failed to deliver. As of right now, WhatsApp has far stronger privacy settings than its parent company. Hopefully that motivates Facebook to step up and better protect its users.
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