A survey by KnowBe4 has revealed that Africans, though concerned about cybercrime and the potential for digital identity theft are not ready to leave WhatsApp.
It disclosed that the data privacy concern was not stopping mobile users from using their favourite messaging platforms and applications.
KnowBe4 stated that the new research involved over 700 smartphone users in Nigeria, Mauritius, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco and Botswana.
“The KnowBe4 Mobile Users in Africa survey gauged the opinions of Africa’s mobile users on the recent decision by WhatsApp to update their terms and conditions, sharing data with the rest of the Facebook group of companies.
“The survey found that not only did the majority of the respondents across Africa intend to continue using WhatsApp; but also that their favourite alternative to WhatsApp was Facebook Messenger,” it said.
“It is interesting to see that while most mobile users are concerned about their online privacy, Facebook Messenger, which was listed as the top alternative chat app, collects much more data than WhatsApp. This indicates that there may be a lack of understanding about the actual risks and implications of the new policy,” Collard said.
According to the statement, the survey showed that for most of the respondents, the convenience of the platform outweighed concerns about privacy risks, with over half saying they had concerns but would continue using WhatsApp, though they might have signed up to use other messaging tools.
“What’s interesting is that, compared with the 2019 KnowBe4 African Report, respondents were even more concerned about cybercrime. In 2019, 37.86 per cent were worried, and in 2020, the number had risen by 10 per cent to 47.61 per cent. Across all eight countries, we see a growing awareness of the risks that come with cybercrime.”
However, she notes, there remains limited awareness of how to avoid risk, and the implications of data privacy terms and conditions.
“This indicates a need for further education and awareness initiatives to enlighten the public about risks on social media and messaging platforms,” Collard added.
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