WhatsApp Delays Enforcement Of Privacy Terms Following Backlash And Massive Boycott
WhatsApp on Friday said it has suspended the enforcement of its data-sharing policy until May 15, after it triggered worldwide outcry and drove tens of millions of its loyal fans to explore alternative messaging apps like Telegram and Signal.
In early January, WhatsApp informed users of its new terms of service which stated that their data would be shared with its parent company Facebook.
The policy stated;
As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, this family of companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support and market our services and their offerings.
Giving an update about the data-sharing policy, the firm in a blog post on Friday said;
We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp.
We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15.
The messaging app, which serves more than two billion users, said it was delaying the enforcement of the new terms in order to provide users with more time to review the terms.
The company added;
We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update. There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts. We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update. This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook.
The update concerns how merchants using WhatsApp to chat with customers can share data with Facebook, which could use the information for targeted ads, according to the social network.
WhatsApp in an earlier blog post said;
We can’t see your private messages or hear your calls, and neither can Facebook. We don’t keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling. We can’t see your shared location and neither can Facebook.
Location data along with message contents is encrypted end-to-end, according to WhatsApp, stressing;
We’re giving businesses the option to use secure hosting services from Facebook to manage WhatsApp chats with their customers, answer questions, and send helpful information like purchase receipts.
Whether you communicate with a business by phone, email, or WhatsApp, it can see what you’re saying and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook.
Technology experts note that WhatsApp’s new requirement of its users makes legally binding a policy that has been widely in use since 2016.
Facebook aims to monetise WhatsApp by allowing businesses to contact clients via the platform, making it natural for the internet giant to centralize some data on its servers.