Unsurprisingly, the new update has caught the attention of both privacy enthusiasts and WhatsApp users. Users will not be able to opt out of this data sharing, and their accounts will be disabled if they do not agree to the changes. The backlash following the news has forced the messaging service to extend the deadline to May 15.
The company has also started addressing users’ worries, particularly the concerns that WhatsApp will share messages, location and contact information with Facebook and other Facebook-owned companies. A Twitter statement and a blog post have been released in order to clear up the confusion.
In both statements, WhatsApp explains that:
- it cannot see private messages or hear calls (neither can Facebook);
- no logs of who users are calling or messaging are kept;
- users’ contact information is not shared with Facebook;
- users’ shared location is not visible to WhatsApp or Facebook;
- WhatsApp groups will remain private;
- users will still be able to download their data.
“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,” the blog post explains.
“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,” WhatsApp said in its blog post.
WhatsApp will likely continue to address the changes to familiarize users with what will happen on May 15. If users choose to not agree to the changes, their accounts will be terminated.
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