WhatsApp extends update deadline amid privacy concerns

Jan 18, 2021 | Regulation, Social, WhatsApp

WhatsApp is extending the date to accept its new terms and conditions to May 15 from the previous date of February 8.

The company says this is due to all the confusion and ‘misinformation’ around their latest update and that they are going to use the time to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp.

The firm was criticised for sending the notification, which seemed to suggest changes to the data it would share with its parent company Facebook.

They will then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before May 15.
Since the announcement and notifications went out across its platform, millions of people around the world have downloaded alternative encrypted messaging apps such as Signal and Telegram.

In a blogpost, WhatsApp said personal messages had always been encrypted and would remain private. It added that its practice of sharing some user data with Facebook was not new, and was not going to be expanded.

“The update includes new options people will have to message a business on WhatsApp, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data,” it said.

In an earlier FAQ post, WhatsApp explained that the data that it already shares with other Facebook companies includes:

• phone number and other information provided on registration (such as name)
• information about your phone, including make, model, and mobile company
• your IP address, which indicates location of your internet connection
• any payments and financial transactions made over WhatsApp

However this does not apply in Europe and the UK, where different privacy laws exist.

Earlier this month, WhatsApp started popping up its new terms and privacy policy screen when you launched the app. The screen asked users to click Agree and accept the new terms, which will take effect on February 8. You could dismiss the popup but you would need to agree to them if you wanted to continue using the service after February 8.

This caused concern among users, with many choosing to switch over to Telegram and Signal.

As WhatsApp has repeatedly said since announcing the new policy, the new changes affect only those who interact with WhatsApp Business accounts on the service.

These Business accounts can now use Facebook hosting services to manage their WhatsApp chats, use Facebook branded commerce features such as Shops, and display an ad on Facebook to message the business directly on WhatsApp.

In each of these cases, Facebook will now collect information on you if you interact with these business and their ads, similar to clicking any other ad on Facebook.

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