Accounts with usernames: the WhatsApp novelty that will help the informal market in Cuba

Havana Cuba. — In an attempt to improve user privacy and catch up with its competitor Telegram, WhatsApp is testing a major change to its app. The popular messaging platform plans to introduce usernames associated with phone numbers.

The option has appeared in the beta version of WhatsApp for Android (v2.23.11.15) that they have already been able to test in WaBetaInfo.

The new feature is likely to be popular in Cuba, where the regime has a long history of monitoring its citizens’ communications. The government is known to use WhatsApp to track down dissidents and other critics. By using aliases, Cubans could communicate more freely without fear of such surveillance.

WhatsApp’s decision to incorporate aliases is in line with its commitment to strengthen user privacy. By allowing individuals to create unique usernames, they will no longer be identified solely by their phone numbers. This change not only provides a level of anonymity, but also ensures that personal contact details remain hidden.

For example, a user could create an alias for their work number so that their personal contacts cannot see it. Or, a user could create an alias for their online dating profile so their friends and family can’t see it.

Until today it is mandatory to share the phone number in the popular messaging application.

The introduction of usernames in WhatsApp will match the functionality offered by rival Telegram, which has allowed users to create aliases for some time. Undoubtedly, this update will not only improve the privacy of users, but also the experience of using the platform.

Although Telegram already had this function, which has supported the informal market on this platform, WhatsApp is used more widely on the Island.

In the Cuban context, this new WhatsApp feature could have a significant impact on the informal market, which has been an important part of the Cuban economy for decades. With the introduction of usernames on WhatsApp, it will be more difficult for the authorities to prosecute those who sell products that come from “state warehouses”.

Importantly, this update also raises concerns in terms of security. As user privacy is strengthened, there may also be an increase in the use of the platform for harassment and bullying. trolling.

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