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WhatsApp For a Second Time Attempts to Explain Privacy Policy Update

Whatsapp is now trying to set the record straight regarding its privacy policy update set for a May 15th update. The company faced outrage at the beginning of the year after it sent out pop-up alerts to its users, asking them to accept the new policy update or delete the app.

In a twist that shocked them out of their wits, users opted to delete the app. The mass exodus benefited competitor companies Signal and Telegram, pushing Whatsapp to the fifth position among the most downloaded apps in 2021. Telegram took first place and Signal, a new entrant to the top ten, took third.

Whatsapp has taken to its blog to explain exactly what the privacy policy means, asking users to go through it and learn how private and business messages differ and are handled.

Read: Whatsapp Reassures Users of Privacy Despite Policy Update

Whatsapp’s new privacy policy primarily concerns messaging businesses on Whatsapp and what parts of your data the business will access. Here’s the thing, private messages are end-to-end encrypted, meaning that no one, not even Whatsapp, can read your messages or listen to your voice calls.

However, Whatsapp also allows private users to message Whatsapp business numbers. This is where the whole issue arises. Whatsapp Business messages are not extended the same protections as Whatsapp private messages.

In short, Whatsapp Business messages are accessible and what the company meant with the new privacy policy is that the data on Whatsapp business messages (including messages you send to them) will be stored on Facebook servers and used for commercial purposes such as ad targeting on Facebook.

Read also: WhatsApp’s Latest Data Sharing Policy Update Prompting Users To Join Competitor, “Signal”

Whatsapp launched its own status a few weeks ago with plans to periodically update users about any changes. Now the company is also making it easier for users to review the privacy policy by adding a banner that can be tapped to pull up the explanation of the policy.

The Facebook owned app says it will eventually ask users to accept the update to continue using the app.

Whatsapp further explained that Business owners pay for the right to use the app to reach customers, and that is how they are able to provide it for free. Apart from sharing your personal details such as phone number and profile photos with Facebook for friend recommendations, the company says everything remains as private as ever.

Read also: Telegram Users Spike Following Whatsapp Data Sharing Update

Whatsapp’s new attempt to explain the policy update was somewhat apologetic, owning up to the fact that they had not explained the update well enough to users. It also took jabs at its competitors for taking advantage of the confusion to lure customers when messages on their apps are not end-to-end encrypted.

“During this time, 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.” Whatsapp explained.

“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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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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