A new national survey has revealed the full extent of the WhatsApp mass exodus, with 12.6 million Brits either having deleted the messaging app or planning to do so, as concerns about data sharing with parent company Facebook seemingly reached a peak before the 15 May terms agreement cut-off date.
The fully-representative survey of 2,000 people across the UK, commissioned by YEO Messaging and carried out by OnePoll, found that 19 percent of respondents – 12.6 million people when the percentage is extrapolated to the whole nation – are either planning to stop using the app (11 percent) or have already abandoned it (8 percent).
Of those people, 31 percent say they took the decision because they don’t trust Facebook, 30 percent say it’s because they don’t want their data misused or sold and 26 percent stated they had read a news article about the Facebook data controversy and got concerned.
Facebook’s chat app has been trying to get users to accept the new policy for months. But on May 15, the grace period ends – meaning that millions of users will either accept the terms or be locked out of it.
The survey revealed that Gen Z youngsters suffer the most when it comes to messaging privacy breaches.
Four in ten (40 percent) of 18 to 24-year-olds say that someone used a picture or text they sent on a messaging app to harm them – more than double the 16 percent national average.
Almost half of Brits (49 percent) have avoided sending information to friends and family over social media or messaging platforms due to concerns over how they collect and use private data – and again this figure was much higher for Gen Z respondents (61 percent).
Alan Jones, Co-Founder and CEO of YEO Messaging said: “Our survey shows that there is a real hunger for apps such as ours which allow everyone to take control of their own messaging privacy, safe in the knowledge that their personal data is not sold for a profit or misused.”
The research also revealed that 46 percent of people would be happy to communicate with their doctor or bank via a messaging app if the business or people were verified as legitimate.
There was a gender divide on how much privacy is valued, with 62 percent of women stating they very much value privacy when using messaging apps, compared with only 54 percent of men.
The survey is not great news for Telegram, as 61 percent of respondents stated they would not trust a Russian owned messaging app with their private messages.
The YEO Messaging app – which uses continuous facial recognition to ensure that only the designated recipient can read messages, along with restricting the geographic location where messages can be read – is available now on the App Store and Google Play Store.