WhatsApp on Friday postponed a data-sharing update following what seems to be a huge user-flights from the Facebook-owned messaging service to rivals Telegram and Signal following privacy scare.
The smartphone app, following a huge hit across the world, cancelled its February 8 deadline for accepting an update to its terms concerning sharing data with Facebook, saying it would use the pause to clear up misinformation around privacy and security.
“We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.
Location data along with message contents is encrypted end-to-end, according to WhatsApp.
“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,” WhatsApp said in a post.
“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.”
Technology experts note that WhatsApp’s new requirement of its users makes legally binding a policy that has been widely in use since 2016.
Facebook aims to monetize WhatsApp by allowing businesses to contact clients via the platform, making it natural for the internet giant to centralize some data on its servers.
However, WhatsApp emphasised that with end-to-end encryption (E2E), it cannot see private chats or calls and neither can Facebook and that the company remains committed to E2E. “We’re in a competition on privacy with others and that’s very good for the world. People should have choices in how they communicate and feel confident that no one else can see their chats. There are people who disagree with this, including some governments,” WhatsApp Head, Will Cathcart had said.