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WhatsApp to delay new privacy policy amid mass confusion about Facebook data sharing


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WhatsApp to delay new privacy policy amid mass confusion about Facebook data sharing

The new update will now go out on May 15th

akrales_180215_2310_0008.0.jpg

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

 

WhatsApp on Friday announced a three-month delay of a new privacy policy originally slated to go into effect on February 8th following widespread confusion over whether the new policy would mandate data sharing with Facebook.

 

The update does not in fact affect data sharing with Facebook with regard to user chats or other profile information; WhatsApp has repeatedly clarified that its update addresses business chats in the event a user converses with a company’s customer service platform through WhatsApp.

 

“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,” the company wrote in a new blog post published today.

 

Since 2016, WhatsApp has shared certain information with Facebook, including your phone number, unless you were one of the select few users who chose to opt out of data sharing while the option was still available that year. WhatsApp does not, however, look at people’s chat messages or listen to their phone calls, and WhatsApp conversations are end-to-end encrypted to protect against those abuses.

 

Despite this, a pop-up informing users of the new change included mention of how WhatsApp partners with Facebook, and it also included an ultimatum instructing users to delete their account if they chose not to agree to the new terms. That gave people the idea they were being railroaded into new, more invasive terms.

 

The company released a separate blog post this week trying to clear up the confusion, and it included a chart that specifies what information is protected and not shared when someone uses WhatsApp.

 

 

But numerous media reports highlighting the addition of new, broad language in the privacy policy (language WhatsApp says has been misconstrued to imply mandated data sharing) and misinformation on social media have coalesced into a full-blown WhatsApp privacy backlash. The result has been a surge in sign-ups for messaging competitors like Signal and Telegram.

 

Facebook executives, including Instagram chief Adam Mosseri and WhatsApp head Will Cathcart, used Twitter to try to clear up the confusion, it seems with little success. Facebook’s poor privacy track record, and the fact that WhatsApp has over time turned its sights on monetizing the platform for its large international user base, has eroded trust in the chat app, which, in turn, has had the effect of turning a relatively mundane update into a worldwide controversy.

 

WhatsApp says it’s now going to use this three-month delay to better communicate both the changes in its new policy and its long-standing privacy practices around personal chats, location sharing, and other sensitive data. “We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms,” the blog post reads.

 

WhatsApp says no one will be losing access to the app if they didn’t agree to the new terms of service agreement that communicated the changes earlier this month. “We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15,” the company says.

 

WhatsApp tells The Verge the policy won’t be changing when it does come out. The intent of the update is communicating to users that messages with businesses on WhatsApp may be stored on Facebook servers, which necessitates data sharing between the two companies and would allow Facebook to share that information between its main social network and Instagram for ad targeting and to improve its digital commerce business. WhatsApp still intends to release the update on May 15th to coincide with new business chat features it began previewing back in October.

 

But the company hopes the extra time will help it get a handle on the controversy and better improve its messaging around what’s actually changing.

 

“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. 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,” the blog post reads. “This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook.”

 

 

WhatsApp to delay new privacy policy amid mass confusion about Facebook data sharing

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Facebook-owned WhatsApp said they would delay the rollout of a change to its data sharing practice and work to "clear up misinformation" around its privacy policy.

 

The WhatsApp messaging service announced on Friday that it would delay changes to new business features after people around the world criticized the new policy.

 

The Facebook-owned company said it is "going to do a lot more to clear up misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp."

 

Privacy rights activists heavily criticized the WhatsApp changes, saying it was the latest step showing Facebook's poor handling of user data.

 

Users looking for other messaging options


Following WhatsApp's initial announcement many users have signed up for other messaging services, including privacy-minded Signal and Telegram. Signal said that a massive influx of users had led to technical difficulties in delivering some messages on Friday.

 

WhatsApp also canceled its February 8 deadline for accepting the tweak to its terms of service, involving sharing data with Facebook servers.

 

"We're now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms," the company said in a blog post.

 

The delay could pose a hurdle to WhatsApp's plan to generate revenue by making it easier to engage in commercial exchanges on the messaging app. Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014 but the messaging service has been slow to make money.

 

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Similar topics merged.

 

(Privacy articles are better here.)

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Here's why WhatsApp users are fleeing for other platforms

WhatsApp Logo

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Ink Drop)

 

Users are reportedly quitting WhatsApp in their droves after the messaging service introduced controversial new terms and conditions.

 

WhatsApp, which has over two billion users worldwide, began informing users of the changes earlier this week, alarming many with mentions of sharing data from the app with parent company Facebook, despite previously having pledged never to do so.

 

This has led users to flee to the likes of Signal and Telegram, which claim to offer full end-to-end encryption to keep user data safe.

WhatsApp alternatives

The new WhatsApp terms and conditions, which users will be required to view and accept when opening the app, include advice that data will now be shared with Facebook.

 

Although this data does not include messages sent or calls made using WhatsApp, or a user's location, it does include personal details used to set up an account, such as name and phone number, as well as information on what exact model of device they are using, as well as the IP address.

 

"We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way," WhatsApp wrote in a company blog explaining the changes. 

 

"Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data."

 

Users are told they must accept the new terms by February 8, or not be able to access WhatsApp at all. 

 

The warning does not apply to users in the UK and Europe, but has still been sent to devices in these regions. WhatsApp added that its practice of sharing data with Facebook was not new.

 

Users have now flocked to alternative services such as Telegram, which has seen its user base nearly double in the space of a few weeks. The app promises to offer full end-to-end encryption for its users, keeping their conversations private.

 

Elsewhere, Signal, which has received support from the world's richest man Elon Musk, recently tweeted that its user base had increased from around 10 million to over 50 million users in a matter of days. The platform has added more capacity to deal with the surge, and introduced wider group chats and better image sharing to support its new users.

 

 

Here's why WhatsApp users are fleeing for other platforms

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The problem comes from Facebook bad reputition, we have seen many disastriuos breaches and Facebook is either unable or unwelling to tighten their security. Although in my opinion people are voluntrly giving-up their privacy once they signup for one of the social media plateforms, I think people are just reacting to bad blackmail from Facebook side.

The delay really means nothing, because Facebook will wait for this storm to pass and then will implement the change. Knowing that social media sites became an addiction like drugs, people will bow at the end in order to keep on using the site.

Edited by dabourzannan
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WhatsApp starts Privacy Update education program (screenshots)

We reported yesterday that WhatsApp was halting the roll-out of their privacy update and pushing back the deadline when users will need to agree to share their data with Facebook.

 

The company had miscalculated the reception their message would receive, but are still committed to not making any changes to their plans.

Instead, the company hopes to educate users into understanding the actual implications of the new policies, which the Facebook claims are innocuous.

 

They are pushing out a story to WhatsApp users with the following message:

The message echos an earlier infographic the company has been promoting with the same statements.

 

The story is likely only the first of WhatsApp’s efforts to reassure their billion users that there is no need to jump ship to another platform such as Signal.

 

The company will now give users until the 15th May to decide if they agree to the (unchanged) new terms of service, which WhatsApp says are motivated by their plans to turn WhatsApp into a commercial platform similar to WeChat.

 

Read their earlier statement below:

Giving More Time For Our Recent Update

 

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.

 

WhatsApp was built on a simple idea: what you share with your friends and family stays between you. This means we will always protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption, so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see these private messages. It’s why we don’t keep logs of who everyone’s messaging or calling. We also can’t see your shared location and we don’t share your contacts with Facebook.

 

With these updates, none of that is changing. Instead, 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. 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.

 

We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15.

 

WhatsApp helped bring end-to-end encryption to people across the world and we are committed to defending this security technology now and in the future. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us and to so many who have helped spread facts and stop rumors. We will continue to put everything we have into making WhatsApp the best way to communicate privately.

 

WhatsApp starts Privacy Update education program (screenshots)

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Never been a conspiracy theorists, but judging from past experience, the messages facebook is trying to give to people after realizing that they badly screwed up is false.
Facebook never been and never will respect people's privecy, this is how they make money and this is how they made their place in Fortune 500 top 50 companies.

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