afaqs! news bureau

WhatsApp gives users option to view and reread policy updates amid privacy backlash

A blog post tries to defend the end-to-end encryption of messages and reinforce the company’s commitment to protecting people’s privacy and security.

WhatsApp has published a new blog post with updated plans on how WhatsApp users will review the terms of service and updated privacy policy. The post mentions that previously, there was a lot of misinformation and apprehensions around the new update and that the team behind the instant messaging app will work continuously to clear up any confusions.

The post also tries to serve as a reminder that the goal is to build new ways to chat or shop with a business on WhatsApp that are entirely optional. “Personal messages will always be end-to-end encrypted, so WhatsApp can’t read or listen to them,” mentions the writer.

The team also takes an opportunity to defend the end-to-end encryption of messages that the app has always used and tries to reinforce the company’s commitment to protectin people’s privacy and security. WhatsApp was brought out by Facebook in the year 2014 and ever since then, people have raised concerns about if the parent company could access user data from WhatsApp’s records.

“We’ve reflected on what we could have done better here. We want everyone to know our history of defending end-to-end encryption and trust we’re committed to protecting people’s privacy and security. We’re now using our Status feature to share our values and updates directly within WhatsApp. We’ll be doing much more to make our voice clear going forward,” read the post.

In the coming weeks, users will see a banner displayed in the WhatsApp app which provides more information that people can read at their own pace. "We’ve also included more information to try and address concerns we’re hearing. Eventually, we’ll start reminding people to review and accept these updates to keep using WhatsApp," says the post.

The company also attempts to throw light on how WhatsApp is a free service. They stress on the convenience factor - that its simply easier for people to start a WhatsApp chat with a business than to reach out to them over a phone call or to email them.

"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," explains the blog.

Interestingly, the post also takes a moment to acknowledge that WhatsApp users may have been looking at more privacy-sound alternatives to the messaging app.

"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," they justify.