Amidst Privacy Backlash, WhatsApp Delays Their New Privacy Policy Update

After issues with their new privacy policy, WhatsApp has now announced that they will be delaying their update by three months. Whatsapp users will now be asked to accept the app’s new terms and conditions in May of this year. 

On 4th January 2021, WhatsApp updated its privacy policy and the users have been asked to assent to these new policies. Users could choose to skip this update till 8th February 2021, after which they would not be allowed to use the app until they accepted this new privacy policy. 

WhatsApp’s new privacy policy reiterates that while it shares certain user information with its owners, Facebook, it does not change the end-to-end encryption feature. This new update included more information about how businesses use Facebook hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats. It also expanded on how WhatsApp partners with Facebook to offer integrations across the Facebook Company. However, this update led people to mistakenly believe that the company could now read people's conversations and other personal data. However, the end-to-end feature ensures that no one can read your messages except the recipient of that particular chat, not even WhatsApp itself. 

These growing privacy concerns resulted in people switching to other messaging services such as Signal and Telegram. According to date gathered by the New York Times, this week Signal became the No.1 app in India, one of WhatsApp’s biggest markets, on Apple and Android phones.

In their most recent blogpost, busting some of these myths, WhatsApp said that the update does not change the app’s data-sharing practices with Facebook and does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family and that the free messaging app remains deeply committed to protecting people’s privacy.

They also stated that no one will now have their account suspended or deleted on February 8th and that they will do a lot more to clear up all the misinformation about how privacy and security work on WhatsApp. This will allow people to gradually settle in with the new update until new business options are available on May 15th.