F-You Whatsapp - A data privacy rant

By dotMatrix | Shouting into the void | 4 Apr 2023

My ongoing despair with facebook/ meta continues, and they just get shittier every day.

Getting family and friends to switch to Signal seems to be a much harder battle than anticipated.  I guess they know that and take advantage of human nature (i.e. to be lazy) and not switch things up.  Insurance companies have been doing this for years.

So this morning... 

There I am stood on the tram heading in to Manchester city centre at an ungodly hour.  In my rush to get the bus this morning I grabbed my walking coat by default rather than my smarter coat.  Not a problem I thought as my walking coat is more waterproof anyway and considering Manchester's track record for weather in April, it would be more than a sensible choice in most circumstances. 

So what's the issue you with that? Well. It's Red.  Like I say it's my walking coat for when I'm up on the moors or Scottish highlands, I am noticeable for friends and family as well as keeping the wetness off me.

So what's the problem with wearing Red? - It's not Red that was the issue, it's the fact it is a colour that made me stick out.  Honestly.  There seems to be some unwritten dress code in the UK where you can only leave the house in dark clothing, black, grey, navy blue.  Darker the better.  On a packed tram carriage of approximately 50-60 people, I could count on one finger, the number of people wearing a jacket that wasn't the mundane uniform - me...


Also to compound my appearance this morning, I've also tied my outfit together with blue trousers. I am very dressed in very colourful attire today, accidentally. Here's a stealthy pic I took of my attire, it was too busy a tram for a full-on 'look at me' type of selfie.


Thankfully at that time in the morning most people are so indulged in social media or too tired to care, I didn't elicit too many glares.  Although for some people, there were a couple of looks of surprise (?) as they cast their dreary eyes in my direction.

Thanks for sticking with me to this point

So what's my early morning getting dressed in the dark situation got to do with facebook/meta?

I shared my saga with my wife on Whatsapp... 


Shortly after this conversation, she went on to facebook to idly pass the time whilst our small humans were still snoozing.  And lo and behold Facebook had kindly 'suggested' a post to her:


It just can't be coincidence can it?

Facebook/ Whatsapp assure us that our messages are end to end encrypted and can't be read by anyone but the users.  But why would this post pop up only a few minutes after our conversation?

There's been a lot said about data protection recently, highlighted by TikTok's adventures in congressland - even if the clowns of Congress completely missed the point.  People are hopefully starting to sit up and take notice.  It has certainly made me think about my online profile and what services I've shared my data with.  The problem is they have us by the balls.  It seems Facebook is so ingrained into people's lives now, it's almost impossible to move away from it.  They've got their sticky data fingers all over your family photo books and profiles from Facebook to Instagram, and after this morning's encounter - I also believe WhatsApp. 

So what am I going to do about it?

Number one - start taking this shit seriously.  It's my data, I own it and I don't trust anyone other than myself to control its security.

Number two - and much more difficult.  Conduct a data audit of all the apps on my phone

Number three - bin Facebook completely.  I.e. deleting my accounts on all Meta platforms.  You may think this is extreme, but I think it needs to be done.


And lastly, as I still want to maintain meaningful contact with other humans, I must convince others to join me on alternative platforms.  Which will probably the most difficult step in all this. 

Otherwise I should just buy a dark coat and blend into the background of Tuesday morning commuters.



Edit: Rather than my first reaction and go all scorched earth on everything, I started to wonder what other services are out there?  I'm a regular user of Brave and DuckDuckGo, but what other tools exist that I need to know about?

In particular I'd like to investigate a decentralized platform for sharing photos of our mini humans to family dotted around the world.. 

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Shouting into the void
Shouting into the void

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