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WhatsApp Privacy Policy Rollout to Restart, Starting With ‘More Information’ Banner, Coming Soon

WhatsApp laid out fresh terms in January, aimed at increasing business transactions on the platform.

WhatsApp Privacy Policy Rollout to Restart, Starting With ‘More Information’ Banner, Coming Soon

WhatsApp reiterates that personal messages will always be end-to-end encrypted by default

  • WhatsApp asserts that policy change is focused on business conversations
  • WhatsApp had to pause the rollout in January after severe backlash
  • The policy update banner to start showing up for users in coming weeks

WhatsApp privacy policy changes will be coming soon. The company announced that it will once again start reminding people to review and accept its new privacy policy in order to continue using the app. The Facebook-owned company says that it will start displaying a new banner about the policy changes in the coming weeks that will provide “more information that people can read at their own pace”. WhatsApp had to pause the rollout of its privacy policy update in January after severe backlash from users. WhatsApp users were told that they must accept the new terms — which would permit WhatsApp to share its data with parent Facebook — in order to use the app. The ultimatum wasn't received well by users and pushed several of them to switch to other apps like Telegram and Signal. Although WhatsApp delayed the policy, it is still going ahead with it, and is going to instead try and work on convincing people that this change is not something to worry about.

In its latest blog, WhatsApp has informed users that a new banner will start to be displayed once again in the coming weeks. The instant-messaging platform says that the banner will strive to offer more information and transparency around the new terms and conditions that users will be asked to agree to. Eventually, WhatsApp looks to start reminding people to review and accept these updates in order to keep using the app.

In yet another attempt to allay concerns about its privacy policy update, WhatsApp has reiterated that personal messages will always be end-to-end encrypted by default. It says the policy essentially chalks out data policies that will be practiced for conversations with businesses that are on WhatsApp.

“We charge businesses to provide customer service on WhatsApp — not people. Some shopping features involve Facebook so that businesses can manage their inventory across apps. We display more information directly in WhatsApp so people can choose if they want to engage with businesses, or not,” the company said in the blog post.

Speaking about user data usage for building tools for business operations on WhatsApp, the company says: “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.”

This means that while personal messages will be end-to-end encrypted, “limited data” may be captured by WhatsApp during business conversations. However, the company said that this will be used only for developing new features.

Speaking about users chatting with a business account on the platform, WhatsApp said that users will be in control about whether they want to share their number with a business or block it entirely. The company said that it will not share any phone numbers with businesses and will prohibit them from contacting users without first getting approval from the customer.

WhatsApp also said that accepting the new terms does not expand its ability to share user data with its parent company Facebook.

WhatsApp also took a jab at other apps that have been encashing on the WhatsApp controversy. “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.”

Does WhatsApp's new privacy policy spell the end for your privacy? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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