Review date: 04/23/2020
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging clients in the world with over 2 billion (yes, billion) users worldwide. The app is encrypted by default with end-to-end encryption for both messages and calls, which is good for your privacy. It’s also owned by Facebook which means Facebook can access the personal data WhatsApp collects on you, which is bad for your privacy. When it comes to video, WhatsApp allows for one-on-one calls and group calling with up to eight people. Just beware, WhatsApp has a pretty well known misinformation problem.
What could happen if something goes wrong
WhatsApp does a decent job with security. When it comes to privacy, anything owned by Facebook leaves us wary. Video chat aside, it's worth considering the tool's role in spreading misinformation and whether the company has done enough to address this concern. WhatsApp has become such a major source of misinformation about the coronavirus that world leaders have been calling out the app by name, begging people to stop sharing unverified information. WhatsApp did take steps to try and stop the flood of misinformation when it began limiting the number of times people could pass on frequently forwarded content to five chats at once. So, it's worth considering whether you want to get into an app environment that has a history of being a hotbed of misinformation like conspiracy theories that coronavirus is caused by 5G cell towers.
What is required to sign up?
Third party account
A phone number is required to sign up for WhatsApp. Either a phone or email can be used to sign up for two-factor authentication within WhatsApp.
What data does it collect?
How does it use this data?
How are your recordings handled?
Alerts when calls are being recorded?
Video calls can't be recorded within WhatsApp. Third party apps do exist that allow for call recording in WhatsApp however.
Does the platform say it is compliant with US medical privacy laws?
WhatsApp is not HIPAA compliant
Links to privacy information
Can I control it?
Is it easy to learn and use the features?
A FAQ section of the WhatsApp site offers simple tutorials on features. How-to videos from the company also detail features in an easy to understand format. https://faq.whatsapp.com/
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
WhatsApp encrypts messages by default with end-to-end encryption.
WhatsApp allows users to set up a fingerprint lock or faceID as an extra layer of security, although this is not on by default. Users can and should password protect their phone to keep unwanted people from making WhatsApp calls if they chose not to set up this extra security.
WhatsApp releases updates around once a month, sometimes more often.
Facebook has a bug bounty program