READ: Uber: see five app polemics in 2019
The announcement of banning users without the minimum age of 13, the end of support for cell phones with very old operating systems and references to the Mark Zuckerberg group are among the main political issues. Check below the list that the TechTudo prepared with ten WhatsApp polls in 2019.
WhatsApp was the subject of controversies in 2019; see list Photo: Rodrigo Fernandes / TechTudo
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1. Spelling of the word 'online'
Spelling of the word 'online' on WhatsApp was a cause for controversy Photo: Anna Kellen Bull / TechTudo
Many users reacted to the change made by WhatsApp in the spelling of the word "online", mainly in the version for Android devices. The app started to show "online", with hfen. According to the Vocabulrio Ortogrfico da Lingua Portuguesa (VOLP), from the Brazilian Academy of Letters (ABL), the standard form of the word is, in fact, separate. However, the original spelling, without hyphen, is widely accepted and considered correct in the English language.
2. 'Change' name to "WhatsApp from Facebook"
Explicit sign of belonging to Facebook confused WhatsApp users Photo: Rubens Achilles / TechTudo
WhatsApp began to reinforce its belonging to the Facebook brand in 2019. Many users were confused by the "change" in the name of the application, which started to show the message "from Facebook" on the home screen, in its settings screen and in Google virtual stores Play Store and App Store.
Although the application was purchased by Facebook in 2014, only this year the company decided to make this belonging more clear. Users who had not yet attempted to purchase were surprised and recorded their reactions in different ways, as per comments on Twitter.
3. Banning of users without minimum age
4. Security flaw with spyware
In 2019, device cameras were vulnerable through WhatsApp due to spyware Photo: Filipe Garrett / TechTudo
A serious security breach hit WhatsApp in May, allowing spyware to access the camera, microphone and files from the app's user devices. The threat was called Pegasus and was developed by NSO, an Israeli company dedicated to spy technology. For the attack to be carried out, it was enough to receive a voice call. The exact number of people affected by this spyware has not been released, and the breach has been corrected with an update.
5. Integration between WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram
Greater integration between Facebook brand apps was a highlight in 2019 Photo: Tainah Tavares / TechTudo
The integration between WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram was disclosed by Mark Zuckerberg in March 2019, focusing on user privacy. New communication mechanisms between applications were announced, such as the possibility of chatting on any of the platforms without the need to have an active registration on all social networks, for example. End-to-end encryption, started on WhatsApp, has also been announced for other apps' chats.
6. WhatsApp will stop working on old phones
In September, it announced the end of the operation of WhatsApp on a number of old devices. A list with versions that are no longer compatible as of February 2020 has been announced on the application's support page. In the statement, the company revealed that devices with Android 2.3.7 or older and iOS 8 or earlier will no longer work with the app after the disclosed deadline. Remember that the versions no longer allow you to create new accounts and verify registered numbers.
7. Breturn on 'WhatsApp Gold' return
Video rumor "Martinelli" on WhatsApp started in Spain Photo: Reproduo / Spanish National Police
A new attempt to deliver scams through a supposed version of the app called WhatsApp Gold was also a highlight in 2019. The scam had already appeared in 2016, but was debated again in 2019 due to an alleged video called "Martinelli", whose circulation was reported by the British newspaper The Sun in January 2019.
Unlike what happened years ago, when the user was encouraged to click on a link to upgrade WhatsApp and forward the message with contacts or groups, the new version would only require the video to be reproduced and, thus, the device would already be infected. However, the alleged threat was only a rumor, as there was no evidence that the video in question actually existed. The supposed circulation of the video "Martinelli", in turn, had already started in 2017, in Spain.
8. Warning of forwarded message many times
WhatsApp started to warn about messages forwarded many times Photo: Reproduo / TechTudo
Another important novelty of the messenger in 2019 was the fact that WhatsApp starts to inform when a message has been forwarded many times. A double arrow icon is visible, both to recipients and senders, when a text, video, photo or audio is forwarded.
The novelty began to be tested in March 2019 and was gradually released from August. The new mechanism was a reaction from WhatsApp to polemics involving the sharing of spam and fake news, and is part of a series of efforts by the brand to combat uncomfortable sharing and misinformation.
9. Ban on GB WhatsApp and other unofficial APKs
GB WhatsApp an official version of the original app Photo: Anna Kellen Bull / TechTudo
The use of unofficial APKs, such as GB WhatsApp and WhatsApp Plus, generated controversy in 2019, as WhatsApp started to block accounts linked to such apps in March 2019. The messenger strategy was to propose a temporary punishment, in which users would lose access for 72 hours. Then, these users would have the opportunity to migrate to the official application, being able to preserve their accounts. If they did not, they would suffer permanent expulsion.
In addition, users are at risk of having messages exchanged in alternative applications exposed, due to the absence of security guarantees. The migration to the official platform, in turn, also does not guarantee the preservation of the content sent and received previously.
10. Failure with malicious GIF
Sharing GIFs became the subject of a controversy involving risks Photo: Marvin Costa / TechTudo
Another security breach in the messenger that gained prominence during the year was the risk of invasion through the sharing of a malicious GIF. A vulnerability in the app, which was already known to its engineers, was disclosed by a researcher in October 2019. According to him, through this flaw, an attacker could have access to the content of the chats in the messenger if he convinced his interlocutor to share a Infected GIF.
Although the number of infected people has not been registered, the threat had the potential to reach 38.7% of users of the system on the Android platform, specifically on devices running Android 8 (O) or 9 (P). The bug, however, was corrected from version 2.19.244, which only required users to update the application.
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