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WhatsApp allays fears over user privacy with status messages

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Popular messaging app WhatsApp on Sunday used the application’s status feature to assure users that it is committed to their privacy. The messaging app put up various status messages to assure users about the safety features of the application.

WhatsApp said it cannot read or listen to personal conversations of users as they are end-to-end encrypted. It said it cannot see users’ shared location and it does not share users’ contacts with its parent company Facebook.

The development comes as the messaging app is facing flak due to the growing privacy concerns among its users. Also, several people have dumped WhatsApp due to privacy concerns and have joined rival messaging applications—Telegram and Signal.

Why the backlash?

Last week, WhatsApp had informed users about the changes in its terms of service and public policy, through an in-app notification. Users had time till February 8 to agree to the new terms in order to continue using the platform.

This led to a user backlash and triggered memes on the internet over WhatsApp’s alleged sharing of user information with Facebook. Following backlash from its users, WhatsApp on Friday announced that it has delayed implementing its revised privacy policy till May.

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In a series of tweets, the company confirmed that it is pushing back the date from February 8, 2021, to May, for now. “No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8, and we’ll be moving back our business plans until after May,” WhatsApp said.

Change in WhatsApp usage policy

A raging debate ensued after WhatsApp said it will update its terms of service and privacy policy around how it processes user data and partners with Facebook to offer integrations across the social media giant’s products.

WhatsApp had recently released an official statement to clear the air about the rumours and speculations surrounding new terms of service and policies. Assuring its users of their privacy, WhatsApp said that the policy update does not affect their privacy with friends or family.

The messaging app had clarified, “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.”

 

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