March 5, 2021

WhatsApp is trying to explain its privacy policy update again

WhatsApp is having another go at explaining its policy changes (AFP via Getty Images) Last...

WhatsApp is having another go at explaining its policy changes (AFP via Getty Images)

Last month, WhatsApp tried to explain to its users around the world that it was changing the way it handled personal information.

That spectacularly backfired as people got irked at the idea of WhatsApp sharing things with its parent company: Facebook.

The world’s most popular chat app then backpeddled, and tried to explain what it meant. But it still didn’t stop users flocking to rival services like Signal.

Now it’s having another go.

To be clear, the changes are still going ahead. WhatsApp is just changing the messaging around how users will be told.

WhatsApp published a blog post in which it said users will be shown a banner alert in the coming weeks which will encourage them to learn more about the update and what is and is not changing.

It will also display messages in the Status section of the app which will declare the firm’s continued commitment to privacy and that conversations will remain end-to-end encrypted.

Earlier this year, the app began sending full-screen notifications to users alerting them they needed to review and agree to new terms of service and privacy policy in order to continue using the platform, which combined with references to parent company Facebook, sparked confusion and concern among some users over possible increased data sharing.

The update is geared around letting people use WhatsApp to talk to businesses (WhatsApp)
The update is geared around letting people use WhatsApp to talk to businesses (WhatsApp)

The platform has reiterated that the update will not allow WhatsApp or Facebook to read or listen to messages sent by users and is focused on policy changes necessary to allow users to message businesses on WhatsApp.

‘As a reminder, we’re building new ways to chat or shop with a business on WhatsApp that are entirely optional,’ the company wrote.

‘Personal messages will always be end-to-end encrypted, so WhatsApp can’t read or listen to them.

‘We’ve reflected on what we could have done better here. We want everyone to know our history of defending end-to-end encryption and trust we’re committed to protecting people’s privacy and security.’

‘We’re now using our Status feature to share our values and updates directly within WhatsApp. We’ll be doing much more to make our voice clear going forward.

‘In the coming weeks, we’ll display a banner in WhatsApp providing more information that people can read at their own pace. We’ve also included more information to try and address concerns we’re hearing.

‘Eventually, we’ll start reminding people to review and accept these updates to keep using WhatsApp.’

Taking aim at rivals

Young woman sitting on near street door and uses smartphone. Hipster girl looking on screen of phone,blogging,chatting,browsing internet. Online marketing, education, distance work. Social network.
Other messaging services have been picking up users following WhatsApp’s announcements (Credits: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The messaging service also hit out at rival apps who have tried to lure users away from WhatsApp, suggesting some were making misleading claims about their own security.

‘We understand some people may check out other apps to see what they have to offer.

‘We’ve seen some of our competitors try to get away with claiming they can’t see people’s messages – if an app doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default that means they can read your messages,” the company said.

‘Other apps say they’re better because they know even less information than WhatsApp.

‘We believe people are looking for apps to be both reliable and safe, even if that requires WhatsApp having some limited data.

‘We strive to be thoughtful on the decisions we make and we’ll continue to develop new ways of meeting these responsibilities with less information, not more.’


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