Facebook's Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram merger plan: How to keep your personal data safe
Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram merger: At least 2.5 billion people use one or another social media platforms of Facebook.
WhatsApp has over 1.5 billion users. Facebook Messenger has over 1.3 billion users and Instagram has over 1 billion users. According to a TechCrunch report, at least 2.5 billion people use one or another social media platforms of Facebook. Recently, various reports claimed that the social media giant Facebook is planning to integrate its all the three messaging platforms. Through the integration will allow cross-messaging between the three platforms, it may have some negative aspects as well especially related to privacy. Major privacy concerns have been raised surrounding Facebook’s plans to merge Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
"While Facebook’s plans to merge the messaging platforms are not yet finalized, the company is in the process of rebuilding the underlying infrastructure so that users who might utilize only one of the apps will be able to communicate with others within the company’s ecosystem. Facebook plans to include end-to-end encryption for the apps, ensuring that only the participants of a conversation can view the messages being sent. By allowing each app to speak to one another across platforms, Facebook hopes users become more engaged and use this as their primary messaging service," said Gary Davis, Chief Consumer Security Evangelist, McAfee.
Davis said that Facebook’s messaging changes have greater implications for online safety as consumers become more protective of their data.
"For example, WhatsApp only requires a phone number to sign up for the app while Facebook asks users to verify their identities. Will this force more data to be shared with WhatsApp, or will its encryption become less secure? While nothing has been finalized, it’s important for users to think about how the information they share online could be affected by this merger," said Davis.
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Davis suggested some steps to keep the data safe and secure:
1. Get selective about what you share: Although social media is a great way to keep your friends and family in the loop on your daily life, be conservative about the information you put on the internet. Additionally, be cautious of what you send through messaging platforms, especially when it comes to your personally identifiable information.
2. Update your privacy settings: To make sure that you’re sharing your status with just your intended audience, check your privacy settings. Choose which apps you wish to share your location with and turn your profiles to private if you don’t want all users to have access to your information.
3. Keep your apps up-to-date: Keeping your social media apps updated can prevent exposure to threats brought on by software bugs. Turn on automatic updates so you always have the latest security patches, and make sure that your security software is set to run regular scans.
4. Click with caution: Cybercriminals can leverage social media messaging to spread phishing links. Don’t interact with users or messages that seem suspicious and keep your guard up by blocking unfamiliar users who try to send you sketchy content.
5. Stay secure while you browse online: Security solutions like McAfee WebAdvisor can help block malware and phishing sites if you accidentally click on a malicious link. This can help protect you from potential threats when you access your social channels from a desktop or laptop.