GB WhatsApp is trending on Twitter in the aftermath of Twitter influencer Motara’s suspension over a video she made taunting an indigent street child. The video has made the round of the micro-blogging site to the extent it landed on French Twitter and attracted the ire of the French.
Motara claimed in an apology she shared on her now suspended account that she deleted the video from her WhatsApp status immediately after she posted it, unbeknownst to her someone had already saved and shared it.
Many Twitter users are speculating that the person could be using GB WhatsApp – a popular modification designed to install into one’s existing WhatsApp app to provide them with more functionality and more customizable settings.
The modification improves WhatsApp’s usability for its users a lot, but the effect on their contacts is that they can no longer enjoy the privacy that features like message-deleting that are on the official app grants them.
With GB WhatsApp users can, among other things, save others’ WhatsApp statuses, read deleted messages and see their deleted statuses, view others’ WhatsApp status in stealth mode, customize your font and theme, and get notified when their contacts come online.
The modification was created by a senior XDA android developer to enhance the functionality of the instant messaging app for Android users.
The additional functionality is good to have as many users of the app testify, but it also has the downside of exposing those who don’t use it to privacy violation by those who use it. WhatsApp has features that allow people to hide their online presence, but once they set it up they are also unable to see the online presence of their contacts. GB WhatsApp overrides this functionality to allow its users to see the online presence of everyone.
Maybe Motara fell victim to this kind of privacy violation, maybe she didn’t, but the ongoing conversation on Twitter about the things that GB WhatsApp users do raises the question, should anyone use the app modification at all? Is the added functionality worth it in the long run if your contacts lose the trust they have in you?