WhatsApp clarifies privacy policy updation via tweet amid backlash

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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WhatsApp has dominated the messaging space for years. Now, the Facebook-owned instant messaging application has updated its privacy policy and users who don’t accept the new policy are given the option to delete their account.

The changes in the policy have raised concerns regarding the app’s ability to protect user’s data. Following backlash, WhatsApp had said earlier, “We go to great lengths to build WhatsApp in a way that helps people communicate privately. We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data,” it said.

But there has been zero clarity about what WhatsApp meant when it announced an updated privacy policy. It was being speculated that WhatsApp will now have access to users’ private chats and inject ads between the chats or on Facebook based on the conversation. The rumors and lack of clarity forced many users to migrate to Signal and Telegram, which is now considered more secure than WhatsApp.

Now, to clarify its stance regarding the changes in policy, the instant messaging application said, “We want to address some rumors and be 100 percent clear we continue to protect your private messages with end-to-end encryption.” With the Tweet, WhatsApp has now categorically addressed the concerns of the users by clarifying that:

  • WhatsApp cannot see your private messages or hear your calls and neither can Facebook.
  • WhatsApp does not keep logs of who everyone is messaging and calling.
  • WhatsApp cannot see your shared location and neither can Facebook.
  • WhatsApp does not share your contacts with Facebook.
  • WhatsApp groups remain private.
  • The user can set their messages to disappear.
  • The user can download their data.

Earlier, WhatsApp had sent an in-app notification to the users about its new terms of service and privacy policy. WhatsApp’s new term of service and privacy policy will go live on February 8, 2021. To continue using the services, users will have to accept the terms and conditions. If the users do not accept the new terms of service, they will no longer be able to use the app from February 8.