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WhatsApp will implement updated policy despite global outrage

Chandraveer Mathur
·2-min read

WhatsApp will implement updated policy despite global outrage
WhatsApp will implement updated policy despite global outrage

20 Feb 2021: WhatsApp will implement updated policy despite global outrage

WhatsApp has reiterated that it will implement its privacy policy despite user backlash and government scrutiny. WhatsApp recently published a blog post reminding its dwindling user base that the privacy policy will come into effect on May 15.

The blog makes it clear that users will eventually have to agree to the terms in order to continue using the messaging service.

Status updates: WhatsApp will place information banner in chats list explaining changes

WhatsApp's revised strategy involves putting a persistent banner at the top of the chats list. It is also using the Status feature within the app to share its values and updates directly within WhatsApp.

The banner will let people read the information at their own pace. Eventually WhatsApp will remind people to accept the updates.

Quick recap: Updated policy will let WhatsApp collect, share critical user data

For the uninitiated, WhatsApp announced an update to its privacy policy and terms of service in January. The update made the policy severely intrusive. It also mentioned intentions to share critical user data with various Facebook-owned entities.

Notably, the Indian government raised concerns about the policy and issued a notice to Facebook, while also promoting alternative messaging services such as Koo and Sandes instead.

No clarification: WhatsApp blog post doesn't attempt to address privacy concerns

WhatsApp admits it could have handled the situation better, but the blog post makes no attempt to address any concerns raised regarding the new policies.

For example, WhatsApp claimed it can't see the shared location of users, and neither can Facebook. However, the privacy policy still says WhatsApp collects precise location data with permission, and uses IP addresses to approximate location otherwise.

Details: WhatsApp admits it lost users to other messaging services

WhatsApp also addressed the fact that people have taken to other messaging apps such as Signal and Telegram.

The blog claims that competitors try to "get away with" claiming they can't read people's messages. It says that a platform without end-to-end encryption has the ability to read chats. It argues that WhatsApp will try to be reliable even if that requires collecting some data.

WhatsApp Business: Users compelled to accept the changes to continue using WhatsApp

The blog explains that WhatsApp makes money by charging businesses to interact with customers. It says the changes will only affect users interacting with business accounts on the platform.

However, there is no option provided for users to reject the changes and still use the service. That's important since WhatsApp's parent company Facebook has a questionable record handling user data.