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Apps

WhatsApp delays controversial privacy update that triggered a user exodus until May

By Nadeem Sarwar January 15, 2021, 3:43 pm
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So, WhatsApp’s recent privacy policy and terms of service update catalyzed a widespread discussion, and a lot of misinformation, about the platform’s data-sharing equation with Facebook. This also sparked an exodus of sorts, with a lot of existing users jumping the Telegram and Signal bandwagon in search of a more secure experience. WhatsApp has since clarified, even via full-page newspaper ads, that its policy update doesn’t hamper the platform’s security aspect. In the wake of the mass hysteria and some legitimate concerns too – WhatsApp has decided to delay its privacy policy update from going into effect until May.

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WhatsApp's privacy policy update will go into effect on May 15

“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 company said via a blog post.

The Facebook-owned instant messaging platform – which is rapidly working on exploiting its immense business potential and the peer-to-peer money transfer feature called WhatsApp Pay – notes that a lot of confusion has erupted regarding its recent privacy policy update. The company adds that personal conversations that are protected by end-to-end encryption cannot be seen by Facebook or WhatsApp itself, and that it doesn’t keep data on users’ messaging and calling records.

This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook: WhatsApp

To recall, a furor erupted when the update notification asked users to agree to the new privacy policy or risk getting their account deleted. To calm down concerned users, WhatsApp released a chart detailing the things that aren’t changing. The company promised that it can’t see or listen to private messages, it doesn’t keep a log of calls or messages, it can’t see shared location, it doesn’t share contacts with Facebook, and that all WhatsApp groups remain private.

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