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WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy And Everything You Need To Know

This month, WhatsApp came up with a surprise for it’s approximately 1.5 billion users. The Facebook-owned messaging app just updated its privacy policy, which took the internet by storm. The backlash was severe enough to compel WhatsApp into delaying the already announced privacy changes.

What does the new privacy policy say, and is it any different from what we had earlier? That should’ve been the question from the start, but we saw that misinformation and rumors took over, and netizens came up with all sorts of conspiracy theories. Many believed that the company can now read their private conversations and access their data.

We even saw a substantial number of WhatsApp users moving to Signal or Telegram, the other two end to end encryption messaging apps on the market. But why? Is privacy the only concern here. If it is, then another privacy update happened back in 2016, 2 years after Facebook acquired the messaging service for $16 billion. But that didn’t get much traction.

Policies and updates like these can be confusing, therefore to help you out. Here’s a breakdown of what is actually changing, what you should worry about, and what you can ignore.

What’s Changing?

Well, according to WhatsApp, here is what the company says:

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.

So what does this mean? It seems like nothing is changing at all. Earlier, the company had notified its users that they would have to agree to the privacy terms until February 8, and if they failed to do so, WhatsApp would suspend their accounts. What seemed like a threat no longer exists. On January 15, Whatsapp came up with a clarification that:

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 privacy policy

The messaging giant wants you to know that the recent update does not affect your messaging with friends and family in no way at all. The objective is to enhance transparency and improve data collection. However, the worrying bit was how the company works with Facebook.

How WhatsApp Works With Facebook?

Here are three significant updates regarding company’s workings with Facebook:

Facebook Hosting Services

Now WhatsApp business accounts would get hosting services from Facebook to manage chats, answer questions and relay helpful information. The same information, however, will be used by WhatsApp for marketing purposes. For instance, advertising on Facebook. The app would go an extra mile in labeling businesses that are choosing to use hosting services from WhatsApp.

Discovering a Business

How often do you scroll through Instagram or Facebook and find a WhatsApp button to get in touch with the business? If you do have WhatsApp installed on your phone, you can message the business right away. The way you interact with the business that’s on you, but Facebook will use that communication to personalize ads that you will see on your feed.

Shopping Experience

More and more people are shopping online every day. Just like you go through business profiles on Facebook and Instagram, you can also shop from a WhatsApp business account. If you choose to interact with one of them, WhatsApp will notify you regarding data sharing with Facebook.

Is Everything Okay, then?

It seems that you can communicate with your loved ones since there are no significant privacy changes regarding messaging friends and family members. However, while communicating with WhatsApp business accounts, you might want to double-check.

Sit back, relax and make a conscious decision until May 8, unless WhatsApp alters the deadline for agreeing to the updated privacy terms.

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