Viber and Rakuten


#1

Hi everyone, I was looking for some insights and information about Viber and their parent company Rakuten. Does anyone know anything about them? Do they have a trusted and somehow ethical business model?

If you do have additional info could you please share them with me.

Thanks a lot.


#2

Hi debo,

Just looking at their privacy page (long and complicated with links to other Terms), it looks identical to the same ol’ Silicon Valley business model Aral notes in his “Beyond the Clouds” video. Excellent video that also gives rise to other issues we’re all facing, but off topic.

If you’re getting something for free, YOU’RE the product! Google and facebook have done a bang up job with this business model! Big data, big databases, AI programs mashing data together to provide information on YOU for sale to those who will pay for this info. “Applicable laws”, HAH, there are no laws in the States. It’s a feeding frenzy for Big Data right now.

I just pulled a few snippets while reading and didn’t even finish reading the Terms nor Privacy pages (my last snippet, from the Terms of Use is GREAT ):


Information we collect:
Note that chats with bots and Public Accounts, and communities are not end-to-end encrypted

(b) Social Media Information: If you sign in to your Viber account through third-party social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or VK, you agree to give us on-going access to your personal information on such sites (e.g., your public profile, friend list, accounts you follow or who follow you, your email address, birthday, work history, education history, interests, current city, and video viewing)

(d) Information from Other Sources: The information we collect may be combined with information from outside records (e.g. demographic information and additional contact information) that we have received in accordance with the law.

Specific Accounts – Viber Out Account, Email Linked to Viber Account:

When we link your email account to the Viber account, we will also automatically create an account for you with our parent company, Rakuten Inc., and other entities in the Viber corporate family (Group)

Uses and Retention:

(a)
(vi) personalize your experience by providing content (such as games) on the Service, including targeted advertising of Viber services and other 3rd party services that we believe may be of most interest to you;

© Provide Interesting Offerings to You and others: As part of value added services provided by us or by a third party within Viber, we may use your information to continuously optimize and personalize those services and send you personal updates about new offerings which we believe you will find relevant. We may share with our service providers unique identifiers to determine the best way to tell potential new users about our services. When you join Viber, the contacts in your address book that are already Viber members may be informed that you’re now on Viber too.

Terms of Use:

When you use our Services, in addition to enjoying a world of good vibes, you also agree to the Terms and they affect your rights and obligations. You can choose not to enjoy the Services, if you don’t want these Terms to apply (and by these Terms we also mean our Privacy Policy, Cookies and Tracking Technologies Policy, DMCA Policy, and other policies on our policies page, which are incorporated herein).

Trout


#3

Yes true but there are also free services that are really free because backed by people who care.

I read those things but I had few doubts mostly because Viber is Israeli and now, as part of the Rakuten group, Japanese. Not sure what the rules there.
In terms of opt out within the app it seems you can indeed disable all the tracking if you wish to.

Last but not least the use end-to-end encryption although they didn’t disclose what they use.

The reason why I’m searching information is because most of my peers use either WhatsApp or Viber rather than my favourite Signal and Telegram. WhatsApp is definitely not an option for me because I’m clear from anything that has to do with Facebook, so Viber could have been a nice alternative.


#4

Yes true but there are also free services that are really free because backed by people who care.

Sure, I was making a gross generalization. But do YOU feel that Viber is “really free because backed by people who care”? Even those people (those who provide free services) need to pay for room and board. I always try to follow-the-money.

And if you need to use Viber to communicate w/ your freinds, that’s entirely up to you. I’d clear my cookies frequently and use Better/Safari if using a web interface. And yea, try to opt out of everything you can. I don’t even think we have those rights in the States.

I just don’t get warm fuzzies at all about this page. So much info on their privacy and Terms pages…why is it so difficult, convoluted and long? Maybe to confuse people? They’re definitly in bed with Google, Twitter and others.

Not to mention all the fine print: " We are not responsible for the effectiveness of any such opt-out options. …The effect of an opt-out, if successful, will be to stop targeted advertising, but it will still allow the collection of usage data for certain purposes (e.g., research, analytics and internal operation purposes for Services)."

Trout


#5

When you sign in from Europe you have all those options instead. There are no ads on the mobile app (only on the desktop client) but all the switches to stop data collection and such are there.

I don’t know, it’s the usual conundrum of choosing between being isolated or integrated with least bad tool.