Dangers of Instant Messaging apps for businesses: WhatsApp, Messenger, TikTok...
Source: Interactive Powers
In the current digital context, companies are increasingly accustomed to and promoting buttons the use of Instant Messaging or similar social media tools on their websites such as Meta ones: WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, or TikTok to chat with their customers openly. However, these channels are not completely secure or private, which can be dangerous for both companies and customers. Although it is tempting to use these options because they are very popular and familiar among consumers, it is important to consider all risks involved. Especially noteworthy is the fact that the use of these solutions implies that a third party has access to your customers’ profiles and can share that information in various ways. While many companies minimize the impact by thinking that their business is not critical, the truth is that habit data does not need to be critical to be very valuable when aggregated from multiple communications, resulting in high value for many purposes.
How we got here today…
Although historically the telephone is the most secure and widely used communication channel, its obsolescence in a digital environment and increasing abuse has led younger and even older consumers to gradually move away from it. Unsolicited commercial calls, telemarketing harassment, and phone phishing are just a few examples of how the misuse of the phone has led to this situation. As a result, the need to find alternative channels in these alternatives has arisen, easy but not without introducing other types of problems.
Reported risks by governments…
Multiple experts and government institutions have already exposed and warned about the dangers of these social media chat applications where personal conversation data has been compromised from both Meta with Facebook, WhatsApp or TikTok on multiple occasions due to vulnerabilities or leaks by the same provider companies or even for possible unofficial uses with third parties. Consequently, these channels do not offer complete security for exchanging personal information, making purchases of products or services, sharing commercial data, and also do not guarantee the protection of health, social, or financial data in transactions made.
What are the consequences…
Companies that use or incorporate them without much considerations, run the potential risk of losing the trust of their customers and affecting their brand reputation, if information about their transactions or consumption habits is leaked to competitors or worse, receiving complaints from customers as a result of direct or indirect use of that data. To avoid such exposure to their business, companies need an exclusive, controlled, and unmediated digital connection with their customers, ensuring secure communications for both parties.
How we can solve it…
Fortunately, today there is the possibility of implementing real-time telecommunications technology that allows companies to connect directly with their customers easily and efficiently, without the need for WhatsApp, TikTok, Messenger, …etc. These channels can be accessed through web browsers from existing mobile devices without requiring specific applications, downloads or plugins. Customizable links with their own domain can be used, dedicated nodes can be used towards the contact center, guaranteeing reliable and secure conversations. Additionally, this mode allows for encrypted communications with higher quality audio or video than the phone so that customers can contact companies anytime and from anywhere in the world through the Internet.
In conclusion, the most surprising thing is that despite all news warnings, major scandals that have occurred, evidence of the business or geopolitical risks behind the big data, WhatsApp is still the most used app by companies, followed closely by Messenger, Tiktok or Instagram. Therefore, it is really crucial that companies become aware of this situation, promoting the use of direct, secure, and truly private channels to communicate with their customers with technical conditions that they can supervise or control. The risks associated with social media chat tools are too high for businesses and can affect both companies and customers. It is important to note that the risk is not only in the leakage of data but also in the cross-use of the data with the customer profile for third-party purposes that are beyond the interests of the company and its users. Therefore, companies should consider ensuring the confidentiality of their conversations and implementing reliable solutions to directly converse with their customers over the Internet without the imperative need to use the phone again.
- AP News - Why TikTok is being banned on gov’t phones in US and beyond
- The Guardian - TikTok unveils European data security plan amid calls for US ban
- Popular Science - Why some US lawmakers want to ban TikTok
- Reuter - U.N. says officials barred from using WhatsApp since June 2019 over security
- Cybernews - WhatsApp data leaked - 500 million user records for sale online
- Fortune - Wall Street hit with $2 billion in fines over employees using WhatsApp…
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