Facebook Messenger collects a terrifying amount of data compared to other instant messaging apps like WhatsApp or Signal. A graph, published by the Forbes site, reveals the extent of the damage.
Since December 2020, developers of applications published on the App Store must be fully transparent. As Apple states on its official website, “developers should be accountable for their use of your data (for example, your usage data, contact details or location and whether that data is used for tracking purposes ”.
Unsurprisingly, the introduction of this new tool and this obligation has not delighted some app developers, and especially those who make a living from data collection like Facebook. A scandal for the social network led by Mark Zuckerberg who quickly railed against his new rules. In an official statement, the CEO assured that this constraint would “have a negative impact on many small businesses ”, even adding that it is a threat against “free internet ”.
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Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp: the collecting festival
However, and as explained by our colleagues from the Forbes site, Apple has managed to put Facebook and WhatsApp in front of their responsibilities with this obligation to post the access rights of applications on the App Store. Suddenly, users could see that WhatsApp and Messenger retrieve your contacts, business data when you use Facebook services, your IP address and location, and even your voice recordings.
In the process, WhatsApp tried somehow to justify the collection of such a large amount of data: “We need to collect certain information to provide reliable global communication service […] In principle, we take measures to restrict access to this information ”, assures the company.
WhatsApp subsequently turned the criticism against Apple, arguing that it was abnormal that Apple applications were not affected by these new obligations. The Cupertino company quickly remedied the situation by updating its website and posting the same information for iMessage, its own instant messaging app.
The maneuver is perfectly orchestrated by Apple. While WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger collect an insane amount of data “directly linked to the user and his identity“, IMessage is illustrated by only retrieving email address, phone number, device ID and search history.
The message is clear: while iMessage is content with a handful of data directly linked to the user, all data collected by WhatsApp and Messenger is linked ”to account, identity, device or contact details ” of the user. However, it should be noted that Signal remains the application that uses less metadata., since only your phone number is recovered.