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WhatsApp responds to concerns about privacy policy update

An official blog post stresses that WhatsApp can’t view private messages or listen to calls, and neither can Facebook.

When WhatsApp recently updated its privacy policy, it created a stir among users who were concerned about how their data was being used. In 2014, social media giant acquired Facebook and since then, there have been questions and concerns raised about how user data could be accessed and used.

A blog post mentions that the app wants to be clear that the new policy update does not affect the privacy of users' messages when they're interacting with friends or family. Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how the app collects and uses data.

The article stresses that WhatsApp can’t view private messages or listen to calls, and neither can Facebook. "Whatever you share, it stays between you. That’s because your personal messages are protected by end-to-end encryption. We will never weaken this security and we clearly label each chat so you know our commitment," says the post.

WhatsApp responds to concerns about privacy policy update

While traditionally mobile carriers and operators store logs of who everyone is calling or messaging, WhatsApp clarifies that it believes that keeping these records for two billion users would be both a privacy and security risk and it doesn't store that information.

The messaging app also clarifies that when a user shares their location with someone on WhatsApp, that infromation is protected by end-to-end encryption, which means no one can see your location except the people you share it with.

WhatsApp will not share users' contacts with Facebook either. Data pertaining to groups and group messaging will not be shared with Facebook for ads purposes. Again, these private chats are end-to-end encrypted so WhatsApp can’t view this content. For additional privacy, you can choose to set your messages to disappear from chats after you send them.

The changes to the privacy policy mainly pertain to messaging business accounts on WhatsApp. The blog post states clearly that whether you communicate with a business by phone, email, or WhatsApp, it can see what you’re saying and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook. To make sure you’re informed, we clearly label conversations with businesses that are choosing to use hosting services from Facebook.

With Facebook branded commerce features like Shops, some businesses will display their goods right within WhatsApp so people can see what’s available to buy.

If a user chooses to interact with Shops, shopping activity can be used to personalise your Shops experience and the ads you see on Facebook and Instagram. Features like this are optional and when you use them we will tell you in the app how your data is being shared with Facebook.

A user may see an ad on Facebook with an option to message a business using WhatsApp. If you have WhatsApp installed on your phone, you’ll have the option to message that business. Facebook may use the way you interact with these ads to personalize the ads you see on its platform.