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WhatsApp postpones new privacy policy


WhatsApp announced a three-month delay in the new privacy policy, which was due to come into effect on February 8th after widespread confusion over the new policy requiring data sharing with Facebook.

The update does not affect data sharing with Facebook in relation to user conversations or other account information.

Facebook explained that its update addresses commercial chats if the user communicates with the company's customer service platform via WhatsApp.

"We've heard from many people about the confusion about our latest update, and there's been a lot of disturbing information and we want to help everyone understand our principles and facts," the company wrote in a new blog post.

Since 2016, WhatsApp has shared certain information with Facebook, including your phone number, unless you are one of the few users who chose to opt out of data sharing while the option was still available that year.

However, WhatsApp does not look at people's chat messages or listen to their phone calls, and conversations are encrypted from end to party to protect against such violations.

However, the pop-up to inform users of the new change included mentioning how WhatsApp partnered with Facebook, and also included an alert telling users to delete their accounts if they chose not to agree to the new terms.

The company released a separate blog this week in an effort to remove confusion, including a blueprint that identifies protected and non-shared information when someone uses WhatsApp.

But several media reports that have highlighted the addition of new language to the privacy policy — which WhatsApp says is misinterpreted as means of mandatory sharing of data — and misinformation across social media platforms have combined and turned into a full-blown backlash against WhatsApp privacy.

The result was an increase in competitor subscriptions, such as Telegram and Signal.

WhatsApp says it is now using this three-month delay to better deliver both changes to its new policy and long-term privacy practices about personal conversations, location sharing and other sensitive data.

The company explained that it was changing the date on which people were required to review and accept the terms, and no one would lose access to the app if they did not agree to the new privacy policy.

"We're also doing a lot to clarify the wrong information about how privacy and security work across WhatsApp, and then we gradually turn to people to review the policy before new business options are available on May 15th," she said.

The policy will not change when it appears, as the purpose of the update is to inform users that messages with companies may be stored via WhatsApp on Facebook servers, which requires data sharing between the two companies.

WhatsApp says this data can be used for companies for advertising, but Facebook doesn't automatically share it through its apps.

WhatsApp still plans to release the update on May 15th to coincide with the new business chat features that began previewing it in October.

The company hopes that overtime will help her deal with the controversy and improve her messages about what is already changing.