SnapChat’s nightmare, New whatsapp status feature registers more users

It’s been less than three months since Whatsapp introduced its Snapchat copycat stories feature, and it already has 175 million users thanks to its massive numbers as compared to the competition. This comes as no surprise as Whatsapp has more than 1 billion users around the world. And, looks like Facebook’s strategy of Xeroxing Snapchat’s entire suite of products is having a positive effect — which has resulted in a halt Snapchat’s growth worldwide.

Snapchat has only enjoyed a favorable audience mainly in the US leaving the international audience out of it’s target market. This means when WhatsApp introduced the Stories feature, relatively few international users had been exposed to the stories format before, it seemed reasonable that it could prove popular in WhatsApp. Facebook’s announcement today during an earnings call confirms that, for now at least, it appears to be working.

Its clear that Snapchat faces a strong challenge from Facebook, and the future of the company is uncertain given that it recently issued its IPO. And by February, Snapchat had 161 million daily users.

Also, WhatsApp was down today for two hours.

 

 

-Techjaja

You can limit who sees your new whatsapp snapchat-ish status, here is how

Well, Status updates launched with Whatsapp recently and the feature borrows a lot from SnapChat stories just like other apps in the Facebook eco-system namely Instagram and to a smaller extent Messenger and the main Facebook app.

Whatsapp introduced a new tab called status where anyone with the updated app can tap to add photos or videos for his desired contacts to enjoy only viewable for 24 hours.

The caveat though! All people in your contact list can view the shared stories by default which is rather annoying. Whatsapp doesn’t use handles like SnapChat but instead uses phone numbers in your contact lists by default. So any Tom, Dick and Harry with your contacts can view your status updates not forgetting the controlling parents.

And Parents are the reason we migrated to SnapChat in the first place, right?. Away from jokes, with SnapChat, someone asks to follow you and you only choose so if you deem it appropriate for them to follow you. In other words you have control on who follows you but Whatsapp’s stories are so far in default mode that anyone with your contact can follow you.

How to solve this menace?

In your new Whatsapp status window, tap the drop down menu button at the extreme upper right corner and then choose Status privacy.

Whatsapp will greet you with who can see your status updates. My contacts is chosen by default but this window displays two other options:

My contacts except……. Here you can exclude contacts that  you don’t want to see your cool status update.

Only share with……. This allows to choose whom amongst your contacts who should see your status updates.

However Whatsapp warns that changes to your privacy settings won’t affect status updates that you’ve sent already. So you might have to reconsider visiting these status privacy options before you tap the send button of your status updates.

 

 

 

-Techjaja

Whatsapp announces end to end encryption to protect users

With end-to-end encryption, messages are scrambled as they leave the sender’s device and can only be decrypted by the recipient’s device.

It renders messages unreadable if they are intercepted, for example by criminals or law enforcement.

Whatsapp, which has a billion users worldwide, said file transfers and voice calls would be encrypted too.

The Facebook-owned company said protecting private communication was one of its “core beliefs”.

Encryption was thrown under the spotlight after the FBI asked Apple to help it access data on an iPhone used by California gunman Syed Farook.

Whatsapp said: “The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us.”

Users with the latest version of the app were notified about the change when sending messages on Tuesday. The setting is enabled by default.

Amnesty International called the move a “huge victory” for free speech.

“Whatsapp’s roll out of the Signal Protocol, providing end to end encryption for its one billion users worldwide, is a major boost for people’s ability to express themselves and communicate without fear,” the organisation said in a statement.

“This is a huge victory for privacy and free speech, especially for activists and journalists who depend on strong and trustworthy communications to carry out their work without putting their lives at greater risk.”

Whatsapp’s decision was also welcomed by security professionals.

“Wire-tappers lament, law-abiding citizens rejoice, for WhatsApp’s latest update is a victory for communications privacy,” said Lee Munson, a security researcher for Comparitech.

“With the ability to access data removed even from the company behind the app, only ill-informed law enforcement agencies are likely to mutter ‘terrorists’ as the masses enjoy the encrypted text messages, photos, video and phone calls they’ve been demanding ever since Edward Snowden blew the lid on government surveillance.”

The move is likely to irk law enforcement agencies, particularly the US Department of Justice which has recently expressed concern over “unreachable” information contained in devices. The DoJ did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment on Tuesday.

Indeed, FBI attorney James Baker has reportedly criticised the move saying encryption threatens the work of law enforcement.

 

 

 

-BBC