• Proteams Information Tech

WhatsApp's New Privacy Terms

Updated: Jan 21, 2021

There has been a startling drop in WhatsApps users over the past few weeks following their announcement of new Data Privacy Terms and subsequent rumours that spread regarding the update.

The widely popular messaging app, WhatsApp announced earlier in January that there would be changes to their privacy terms, which could impact its users. The original announcement was rather wordy so it is understandable that there was outrage from those reading about it from regurgitated sources. although a number of new FAQ pages have been added to WhatsApp pertaining to the update. Here is what is really changing - hint; it only affects communications with businesses.

  • Enabling customer service: People find it useful to chat with businesses to ask questions, to make a purchase, or get helpful information like purchase receipts. We’re making it easier to chat with businesses who may use Facebook business products. To respond to customers, some businesses need secure hosting services that Facebook plans to offer. When a business uses this service, we will clearly label the chat so it’s up to you whether or not you message them.

  • Discovering a business: Often people discover businesses on Facebook or Instagram from ads that show a button you can click to message them using WhatsApp. Just like other ads on Facebook, if you choose to click on these ads, it may be used to personalize the ads you see on Facebook. Again, WhatsApp and Facebook cannot see the content of any end to end encrypted messages.

  • Shopping experiences: More people are shopping online, increasing as we are apart. Some businesses with a Shop on Facebook or Instagram can also have Shops on their WhatsApp business profile. This allows you to see a business's products on Facebook and Instagram and shop from it directly in WhatsApp. If you choose to interact with Shops, we will let you know in WhatsApp how your data is being shared with Facebook.

Source; WhatsApp.com

Over 175 million WhatsApp users message business accounts every day, the updates related to optional business features are reportedly a part of WhatsApp's wider efforts to make business communications more secure, better, and easier for users. While these changes might still seem concerning for some readers, especially because the update means that WhatsApp can/will share user data with Facebook and its wider "family of companies", while previously users had the choice of opting-out of such data sharing, but the new policy removes this option. Luckily for EU users, the new Privacy Policy does not apply, as it is illegal under GDPR laws. Facebook and WhatsApp has been widely criticised for this move, if you hold a social media account, you will already be aware of the uproar from users.

"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."

The company have not just seen verbal/written complaints from users, millions of users flocked to other messaging apps, within the space of just 4 days last week 7.5 million installations of Signal were made last week, Telegram was another to gain a huge new user base seeing some 25million new active users in the space of 72 hours. This huge and global response meant WhatsApp needed a plan to backtrack, and save flocks of people delecting their accounts, and so they announced that the update implementation will be postponed, previously scheduled for February 8th 2021, now users have until, May 15th 2021. WhatApp stated that pushing the date back will allow some time for users to truly understand the update rather than give into the misinformation that is floating around, additionally noting that;

"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."

Read Next: What Data do Your Messaging Apps Hold About you?

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