WhatsApp pushes ahead with privacy changes, hits back at competitors

WhatsApp will go ahead with its planned privacy policy changes despite global backlash to the privacy policy update notification issued earlier this year.

WhatsApp said it previously encountered a great deal of misinformation about this update and it continues to work hard to clear up any confusion.

The company will continue to proceed with privacy policy changes, but it will now communicate the consequences of these changes more effectively.

The messaging app said it has listened to feedback from users and has learned what it could have done better in conveying the nature of the update to users.

“We’ve spent the last several weeks reviewing feedback from users and we spent time (virtually) with people from many countries,” WhatsApp said.

“This was a great opportunity for us to hear about people’s concerns and learn what we could have done better.”

The company stressed that WhatsApp and Facebook cannot read or listen to personal conversations as they are end-to-end encrypted.

Better communication of updates

To improve the way it communicates privacy policy changes to users, WhatsApp has made numerous changes to its messaging app.

“Since January, we built a way to communicate these points directly in WhatsApp through our Status feature so that over two billion users can hear the facts from us,” WhatsApp said.

The messaging app will also now begin showing a small banner that will invite users to learn more about the updated privacy policy.

WhatsApp said it found that users prefer this approach to the full-screen alert it previously issued regarding these changes.

“We are making it clear that this update does not change the privacy of people’s personal conversations,” WhatsApp said.

“This is about optional business features that are a part of our broader efforts to make communicating with a business secure, better, and easier for everyone.”

An image of the new in-app banner is embedded at the end of this article.

WhatsApp hits back at competitors

Following the global backlash as a result of its initial privacy policy update, many users moved to apps like Telegram and Signal, which were only too happy to receive a significant influx of new users.

Telegram quickly reacted by acknowledging the surge of new users moving over from WhatsApp and introducing a tool to import all your WhatsApp chats to its platform.

WhatsApp has now highlighted that apps like Telegram which do not offer end-to-end encryption by default offer less privacy.

“During this time, we understand some people may check out other apps to see what they have to offer,” WhatsApp said.

“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.”

“Other apps say they’re better because they know even less information than WhatsApp,” WhatsApp said.

WhatsApp said it believes people want messaging apps to be reliable and safe, even if that requires WhatsApp to access limited user data.

“We deeply appreciate everyone who has helped us address concerns and remain available to answer any questions. We haven’t stopped building for 2021 and can’t wait to share more in the weeks and months ahead.”

WhatsApp privacy policy banner

WhatsApp user notification

Now read: WhatsApp privacy policy caused the biggest digital migration ever – Telegram founder

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WhatsApp pushes ahead with privacy changes, hits back at competitors