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A few months ago, an update to WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service prompted unhappy users globally who sparked by concerns over user data privacy to seek alternative messaging apps like Telegram and Signal for increased security, however, while African mobile users are well aware of these privacy issues, they are not planning to stop using their favourite messaging platform WhatsApp.

According to a report by KnowBe4 carried out among over 700 smartphone users in Nigeria, Mauritius, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco and Botswana, the majority of the respondents across the continent intend to continue using WhatsApp, the report also found that favourite alternative to the Facebook-owned platform was Facebook Messenger.

“It is interesting to see that while most mobile users are concerned about their online privacy, Facebook Messenger, which was listed as the top alternative chat app, collects much more data than WhatsApp. This indicates that there may be a lack of understanding of the actual risks and implications of the new policy.” Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy & Evangelist Africa at KnowBe4 said.

The report shows that the imminent WhatsApp privacy policy has brought about massive changes in the continent, about 24pc of respondents said they were no longer allowed to use WhatsApp for work and 62pc said they were ‘somewhat concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about the new policy. Only 7.7pc of respondents said they had or planned to cancel their WhatsApp accounts, with this number rising to 15pc in South Africa.

The report says that for most, the convenience of the platform outweighed concerns about privacy risks with 50pc saying they had concerns but would continue using WhatsApp, even though they may have signed up to use other messaging tools. 15pc of respondents had heard about the planned privacy terms changes but did not understand what the risks were.

Facebook Messenger was the most popular alternative, with over 80pc voting to use this platform. Over 56pc also used Telegram, over 12pc also used Signal, and 10pc or less used Discord, Threema or other messaging platforms.

Nigel Jr.
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