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Users Flock To Signal Messaging App After Whatsapp’s Latest Privacy Policy Update

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Users Flock To Signal Messaging App After Whatsapp’s Latest Privacy Policy Update


If you own a smartphone, there is a very high chance that you are a WhatsApp user.  The simple and lightweight online messaging application has embedded itself into our lives and has become indispensable.  Family groups, friend groups, office groups, play groups and many other groups like these see millions of conversations happening on a daily basis.  Millions of people across the world use Whatsapp for multiple purposes.  Beginning from a simple user to user online text messaging app, over the years Whatsapp has grown exponentially by adding a lot of features like payments, location sharing, pictures and video sharing, document sharing, group chats and calls.

Whatsapp users received a message upon opening the app on their phone which conveyed information regarding a privacy policy update.  The notification carried information regarding how Whatsapp processes user data and how Whatsapp partners with Facebook to offer integration across Facebook company products.  Failure to accept the policy meant a user could not use Whatsapp anymore after February 8th, 2021.  This led to a huge outcry on social media about how Whatsapp is abusing user data and user privacy.  Facebook and Whatsapp have always been in the spotlight time and again around discussions regarding user data privacy.  But the latest policy update from Whatsapp looked like the last straw.

Millions across the world were looking for alternate platforms to migrate to from Whatsapp where they felt their data would be protected.  Telegram and another recent app named Signal, suddenly saw an influx of new users following the recent Whatsapp privacy policy update.

Signal in particular saw a huge spurt in registrations following Tesla founder Elon Musk’s tweet which said Signal in response to a user asking Musk what is a good alternative to Whatsapp. 

On January 12th, 2021, nearly 800,000 users installed Signal globally.  Signal could not handle the influx and their SMS verification failed to function properly.  Signal has since then added more servers to cope with the surge in app downloads.  Signal said the only information it collects is the phone number and they do not assign a name to the number.  Whatsapp on the other hand collects a slew of data as shown in the picture below.

Whatsapp released a statement which said it is committed to protecting user data privacy and that their end to end encryption still works.  Their response says “Our privacy policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family (sic.)”

ALSO READ: How Does WhatsApp Generate Revenue

Whatsapp data is instead used to improve Facebook user experience.  Facebook is benefiting from Whatsapp by generating a huge wealth of consumer behavior data which inturn is being used to improve the ads on Facebook.   

In this day and age when the internet is making its way to every nook and corner of the world, companies are increasingly developing an internet ecosystem in order to make lives easier.  These ecosystems learn from gathering continuous data.  While it is hard to pinpoint how much data should be collected and kept private and how much could be used to improve quality of lives, the choice ultimately lies with the individual.

Let us know if you are going to continue using Whatsapp or will move to SIgnal in the comments below.

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Elon Musk’s Tesla Makes Inroads Into India By Registering Company In Bengaluru

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Elon Musk’s Tesla Makes Inroads Into India By Registering Company In Bengaluru

Commonly known as the Nikola Tesla of our generation, Elon Musk is a technology entrepreneur, engineer and investor.  The self made billionaire managed to convert his scientific imaginations into reality and tried his hands at various fields, spread across technology, science and exploration.   Automaker Tesla has been in the news for the last few months for breaking records and creating new milestones.  In the first week of January 2021, Tesla surpassed Facebook, in terms of market cap and is currently the fifth most valuable company in the United States of America.  

There have been calls of bringing Tesla to the Indian market since a couple of years ago and now the dream finally turned into reality.  In what can be termed as a momentous occasion, Tesla makes inroads into the Indian market as Elon Musk registers a new company in Bengaluru, India.  On January 8, Tesla Motors India and Energy Private Limited was established with its registered office in Bengaluru, also known as the IT capital and the Silicon Valley of India. 

ALSO READ: 5 Companies Founded By Elon Musk That Are Not Tesla

Reportedly, Tesla would launch their Model 3 first in the Indian market for an estimated price of INR 60 lakhs.  Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways confirmed in December, Tesla is coming to India in early 2021 and will first start off with sales, and then look at assembly and manufacturing based on the response it receives.  According to Republic TV, other than Karnataka, Tesla is in talks with the governments of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu to establish offices.

 

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Google Employees Form A Labour Union Amid Growing Disgruntlement

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In what can be termed as a rarity in the silicon valley, a group of Google employees formed a labour union.  More than two hundred employees of Google’s parent company Alphabet and Google, have come together to form a union.  Although the number of people in the union is far below the threshold for the numbers needed to get formal recognition as a union, the move  has definitely shocked many.

This union will be affiliated to Communication Workers of America and says it will be a structure that ensures Google workers can actively push for real changes at the company.  The union members say they want more of a voice not just on wages, grievances, benefits and protection against discrimination and harassment but also on the ethics of Google’s practices.  

Google software engineer Chewy Shaw, who has been elected to the new union’s executive council, believes the union needed to be formed because of employees being asked to leave due to workplace activism.  

The communications director of the union, Beth Allen said “One of the reasons why it’s taken a while for workers to get to this point is because the leaders of these companies did a good job of convincing workers they were these benevolent folks who were going to provide for them, kind of a paternalistic model (sic.)”

ALSO READ: Google’s Hum To Search Feature Is Here To Make Searching For Songs Easier

The National Labor Relations Board typically recognizes petitions to form new unions when they get interest from at least 30% of employees in a given location or job classification in the United States.   Alphabet has a global workforce of 1,20,000.  While the number of members in the union might look like a tiny fraction, various other silicon valley giants will be watching this story develop with keen eyes.

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What Is Shudder And How Is It Cornering A Niche Market

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What Is Shudder And How Is It Cornering A Niche Market

Content streaming has become a lucrative business opportunity in this decade ever since the release of Netflix.  When Netflix came out it was just a service which allowed users to rent a movie which will be delivered by post after ordering them on a website instead of going to a physical– bricks and mortar place like a Blockbuster store.  Since then multiple online streaming platforms have popped up and the digital content market was born.  These online streaming platforms are always on the lookout for picking up content and offer them exclusively on their platform, while at the same time creating original in house content.

While these streaming platforms offer content of all genres, Shudder is a streaming platform which is steadily building a reputation for itself and is trying to become the king of a niche genre.  Shudder solely focuses on having content related to the horror genre and is owned by the American broadcasting giant AMC Networks, the makers behind the acclaimed The Walking Dead series.

Shudder saw a steep rise in its users in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought the world to its knees.  With a lot of people stuck in their homes due to lockdowns imposed by their governments, Shudder saw its subscriptions increase.  Shudder recently crossed the one million subscribers mark, considering the streaming service only began in 2016!  

Shudder has a database which has all the classic horror movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Ring, Dracula and also the newer movies.  But like any great streaming service, Shudder is not limiting itself to buying already available content, they are also making their own inhouse horror content.  The recently released movie Host, which is based on a group Zoom call.  The idea for Host materialised during the pandemic when the entire world was working from home and Zoom calls became the new normal.  

ALSO READ: 9Gag : From A Meme Sharing Platform To A Money Making Machine

With a reputation for being the best content provider in the horror genre, Shudder picked up its biggest signing yet when they got exclusive streaming rights for Peninsula, the sequel movie to the critically acclaimed Train To Busan.

In this era of streaming platforms, Shudder is a horror fantasy fans dream/(nightmare) come true.  Shudder is a perfect example as to how a niche market can be cornered by truly doing things to perfection.

 

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