Weeks after rolling out the latest, controversial changes to its privacy terms, Facebook-owned messaging app company WhatsApp had lost millions of users. As noted from The New York Times, analytics firm App Annie reveals that the app has free-fallen from the top ten most downloaded apps to the 23rd by the middle of this month.
"Due to the nature of social apps and how the primary functionality involves communicating with others, their growth can often move quite quickly, based on current events," Amir Ghodrati, the director of market insights for App Annie, told The New York Times.
The mass exodus caused WhatsApp to slate its intended update to the latest privacy terms, which was planned to be rolled out on February 8. The company plans to push the date until May to "clear up the misinformation."
WhatsApp has gained popularity among users as a simple, ad-less messaging app with a friendly user interface and easy set-up until Facebook acquired the company in 2014.
For the first time earlier this month, WhatsApp users saw a pop-up update on their apps. It announced that the app would be able to share users' data with its parent company, Facebook, to "help operate" and "support" its services, including the "Facebook Company Products." The initial terms noted February 8 as the last date for users to consent to the company; otherwise, they will be booted from the platform.
While WhatsApp vehemently denies the privacy breach claim, the backlash has caused many users to leave the platform. The messaging giant insists that the app does not store its users' call logs in the recent blog post. Both WhatsApp and Facebook claim not to see users' messages, shared location, or hear users' calls.
For the record, this is not the first time Facebook has been thrown under the bus over shady monopolistic practices and privacy concerns. One of the most well-known cases was the Cambridge Analytica leak in 2018 when the British-based politics consultant firms harvested millions of Facebook users to benefit from its political campaigns.
As the tension among WhatsApp users arises, several apps have become the best mass exodus destination.
According to the UK parliament's home affairs committee, as Business Insider reported, Signal amassed over 7,5 million global users during the first three weeks of January. Another competitor, Telegram, saw a whopping 2,2 million downloads during the same time frame.
Like WhatsApp, Telegram is also an ad-less crossover messaging up, but it is supported by a non-profit organization that relies on generous fundraising and donation. Signal also provides the same service, released roughly four uears ago in 2014.
Should WhatsApp fail to address the miscommunication shortly, more and more users are expected to join the mass exodus.