WhatsApp Clarifies On Privacy Update, Says No Effect On Chats With Friends & Family

In the backdrop of the massive row over its privacy policy update, instant messaging platform WhatsApp on Tuesday clarified that the latest change doesn’t affect privacy of messages sent to friends and family in any way.

WhatsApp said it wanted to “address rumours”, and reiterated that it will “continue to protect your private messages with end-to-end encryption”.

Addressing widespread concerns over privacy breach vis the new policy update, WhatsApp put up a new FAQ page on its site. Private communication bit is highlighted on FAQ sheet.

“Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can read your messages or hear your calls with your friends, family, and co-workers on WhatsApp. Whatever you share, it stays between you,” WhatsApp said, adding, “Our privacy policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family.”

  • WhatsApp further shared a list of information which is “NOT shared with Facebook”.
  • WhatsApp cannot see your private messages or hear your calls and neither can Facebook
  • WhatsApp does keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling
  • WhatsApp cannot see your shared location and neither can Facebook
  • WhatsApp does not share your contacts with Facebook
  • WhatsApp groups remains private
  • You can set your messages to disappear
  • You can download your data

However, the scenario is different with regards to business accounts on WhatsApp.

“Messaging with businesses is different than messaging with your family or friends. Some large businesses need to use hosting services to manage their communication. Which is why we’re giving businesses the option to use secure hosting services from Facebook to manage WhatsApp chats with their customers, answer questions, and send helpful information like purchase receipts.

But 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,” the WhatsApp post said.

In the backdrop of the privacy row surrounding WhatsApp policy update, many prominent voices had indicated shifting to other messaging platforms like Telegram and Signal. As per the latest SensorTower data for India, Signal saw 2.3 million downloads from January 6 to January 10, vs 24,000 between January 1 to January 5. WhatsApp saw 1.3 million downloads between January 6 to 10 vs 2 million from January 1 to January 5 while Telegram saw 1.5 million downloads from January 6 to January 10 vs 1.3 million from January 1 to January 5.

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