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Caught in the Network: The Impact of WhatsApp's 2021 Privacy Policy Update on Users' Messaging App Ecosystems

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In January 2021, WhatsApp announced an update to their privacy policy, sparking an outcry that saw millions of users install other messaging apps such as Telegram and Signal. This presented a rare opportunity to study users' experiences when trying to leave the world's most popular communication app. We conducted surveys in February and May with 1525 WhatsApp users from Mexico, Spain, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. Over a quarter wanted to switch at least part of their communication to other apps, but 74% of them failed to do so. By May, 27% had increased their use of other apps, and only 16% used WhatsApp less. Beyond network effects, users struggled with making informed choices of alternative apps and with differences in their design and functionality. We suggest messaging interoperability as an approach to alleviate switching costs and discuss implications for HCI research and competition regulation of digital services.

TitelCHI '22 : Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Antal sider23
ForlagAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Elektronisk)9781450391573
StatusUdgivet - 2022
BegivenhedCHI '22: CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - New Orleans , USA
Varighed: 29 apr. 20225 maj 2022


KonferenceCHI '22
ByNew Orleans

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