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WhatsApp explains misinformation over proposed update, fixes deadline for May 15

*The global messaging service provider says there has been much misinformation causing concern, and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

After confusing millions of users of the social media platform with concomitant backlash from consumers as it denies that its new policy means Facebook can read messages, WhatsApp has delayed the introduction of a new privacy policy announced earlier this month.

Groundswell of criticisms from users has forced the messaging service to better explain what data it collects and how it shares such information with Facebook Inc., its parent company, agency report said.

The tech giant wrote in a blog post Friday, January 15: “We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update.

“There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern, and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts.”

ConsumerConnect reports WhatsApp had asked users to agree to the new policy by February 8, 2021, but now has pushed that deadline to May 15 as it further explains the changes in this regard.

On what to know in technology, WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, and this means only a message’s sender and recipient can read it, and those messages are not stored on Facebook servers.

But WhatsApp is also pushing aggressively into messaging for businesses. The updated privacy policy was intended to alert users that some businesses would soon be using Facebook-owned servers to store messages with consumers.

But Facebook reportedly said that it would not access those messages for any type of advert targeting, but language in the updated terms of service concerned many users who worried that Facebook would suddenly see their private messages.

However, WhatsApp said that is not true, and that all private messages between friends and family members will remain end-to-end encrypted as usual.

The company also wrote: “While not everyone shops with a business on WhatsApp today, we think that more people will choose to do so in the future and it’s important people are aware of these services.

“This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook.”

The miscommunication has highlighted Facebook’s challenge in convincing users that the company takes their privacy seriously, according to report.

This is because much of the language in the new updated policy is said to be similar to rules rolled out in 2016.

But Facebook has dealt with multiple privacy issues since then, including a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Facebook, has made private messaging a top priority moving forward, but that has also meant bringing WhatsApp further under Facebook’s control, both operationally and from a brand and marketing perspective.

The miscommunication around WhatsApp’s new policies has helped lead to a spike in user growth for competing apps, such as Signal and Telegram.

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