How private is your data on messaging apps?
TORONTO -- Messaging apps have been a handy way to stay in touch with family, friends and co-workers, especially given the ongoing pandemic. But there are serious privacy concerns associated with many of these apps.
Mohit Rajhans, who is a consultant and the author of Rethinking Your Content, spoke to CTV’s Your Morning about how private your information is on these apps.
Rajhans says some of the data that these messaging apps mine from users include location data, the content of the conversations and even banking information.
“What’s interesting about any of the privacy and data concerns is that it’s not what these companies are necessarily addressing right away,” he said Monday. “Instead, what they’re trying to do is to put more frills into the mix and they’re trying to give you more reason to stay a little bit more attached."
Currently, the messaging app market is largely dominated by Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat.
“It’s interesting because they all have been marred with international-related privacy concerns. For example, WhatsApp’s latest privacy update had people in India up in arms to the point where they had this massive exodus to another program called Telegram, which gave a new chat app an opportunity to flourish in the market."
Similar to WhatsApp, Telegram is a messaging app with end-to-end encryption. But isn’t the only app that has seen a recent rise in users. Discord, a messaging and audio app originally targeted towards gamers, is another service that has gained momentum, particularly among younger users.
“My children are on Discord. I’m a fairly hip dad, but I was like, ‘tell me more about Discord’,” said Rajhans.
Social audio apps such as Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces have also seen a boom in popularity. These audio-only apps allow users to talk in groups or listen to and participate in live panel discussions.
But Rajhans says these apps also come with their own privacy risks.
“A lot of people are looking to social audio apps right now like Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces and stuff, thinking it’s secure because you’re just using voice. But the transcripts of that are being mined as well,” he said.