Kevin Carmody: machines, media & miscellanea

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WhatsApp terms update

My number: +447870332981 My email:

I’m happy for you to call me, mail me, add me to Signal. I love to chat! So why would I be leaving WhatsApp?

The recent change in terms of service on WhatsApp means it will have tighter integration with Facebook and Instagram, increasing surveillance and sharing this data between the family of products in order to improve their advertising.

I’d care far less if it was just pitching clothing. However, this company has played a role in, and profiteered from, some of the most divisive figures and events in recent years. Trump, Brexit, the alt-right. Facebook always puts profits before people.

Leaving these platforms is hard.

I stopped using Facebook some time ago, but I work with an organisation monitoring political parties on Facebook, so I can’t delete my account. You’ve got to be inside the wall to see what’s going on.

WhatsApp is something I’m still using every day. It’s how I talk to all my friends and family.

Now, with this shared use change in mind, and what we now know about Facebook, I’m being actively asked the question:

Do I consent?

  • Do I consent to increased monitoring of daily communications?
  • Do I consent to sharing that information to help a company profiteer when I know they are complicit in promotion of damaging ideologies and radical hate groups?
  • Do I consent to also sharing my friends’ and family’s interactions and relationships?

At this point, if asked outright, I just don’t think I can say “I consent”.

So that’s it. Come May 15th 2021, I’ll be excluded from using the service.

I know there’s futility in this. One person not engaging doesn’t bring down an industry. But if you believe something is not ok, you don’t have to give consent.


Signal is a secure messaging app, funded by a non-profit. It has more or less all the same features as WhatsApp. You should use this instead:

Comparison of permissions for chat apps according to the latest Apple App Store data health declarations:

Example of Facebook helping the alt-right make a little cash:

Stop Hate For Profit - temporary ad boycott… meh

How ad companies like Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter, profit is often called “surveillance capitalism”:

WhatsApp founder quits the company as he felt Facebook planned to undermine its security: