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57% Indian WhatsApp users believe their chats are used to target ads: Survey

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Around 57% of WhatsApp users in India believe that they are served advertisements based on their private chats, according to a survey by the Consumer Unity and Trust Society's Centre for Competition, Investment & Economic Regulation. The survey seeks to measure the extent of Indians' understanding of end-to-end encryption and how much they value messaging privately. As chats on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted, Facebook  Inc. does not have access to the contents of users' messages. The survey serves as a proxy to the perception of WhatsApp in particular,  since  every single one of the 2,113 respondents was a WhatsApp user. The respondents were from Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and the National Capital Region. Low understanding of E2E encryption: Only 1 in 250 users is said to have an accurate understanding of how end-to-end encryption secures their messages. Only 61% WhatsApp users think their chats are encrypted: Only 61% of users thought their chats were encrypted in the first place, a blow to WhatsApp's efforts to educate its users What's end-to-end encryption worth? The report says that on average users are willing to pay around ₹1 a day for end-to-end encryption. For context, WhatsApp had an annual price tag of US$1 before its acquisition by Facebook. However, at that time, messaging on the platform was not end-to-end encrypted. The findings could spell trouble for internet users as consumers may be a lot less upset at losing protections from end to end encryption if they never believed they had them in…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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