Big brother is watching … if you let him

Lately it feels as though we’re seeing more targeted adverts – like products you happened to Google – than actual posts from the people we follow. Apple has decided to put an end to this form of data-driven advertising by giving users a clearer chance to say no to their activity being tracked online. With its new iOS update, before you use an app, a notification will pop up asking if you would like your information to be shared with third parties such as advertisers. 

While the update has been a bit buggy, it’s a game-changer where privacy policies are concerned. Apple is betting on consumers increasingly caring more about their privacy and of course the likes of Facebook, which could lose billions, aren’t happy about it. Small businesses and retailers may also face the consequences of these software changes, because those targeted ads do tend to sway us to buy something. 

While we’re here, remember the privacy changes that WhatsApp announced in January? These come into effect on 15 May. But as we mentioned before, nothing much is changing, and it’s aimed mostly at business accounts as WhatsApp further integrates its services with its owner, Facebook. 

Although it IS a concern that WhatsApp shares some of our information like your phone number, transaction data and information on how you interact with others (including businesses), we can assure you that both WhatsApp and Facebook CAN’T read your messages. If you haven’t accepted the new terms, you’ll have to jump to another platform that cares about privacy. Popular options include Telegram and Signal. Local player Moya, which is data-free, is also an option. 

This article appeared as part of The Wrap, 15 April 2021. Sign up to receive our weekly updates