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WhatsApp Clarifies Privacy Policy Concerns Again via 4 Status Slides, Says It Does Not Read Private Chats


Last Updated: January 17, 2021, 17:57 IST

WhatsApp Status' slides clarifying privacy concerns.

WhatsApp Status' slides clarifying privacy concerns.

Previously, Facebook-owned WhatsApp put out a full-page advert in India, stating that the company respects users' privacy. The latest WhatsApp Status echoes similar claims, and Facebook has pushed the rollout date of the updated terms to May 2021.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is again reaching out to users, this time via WhatsApp Status slides, to reiterate that the company respects users’ private data. In four short clips, the messaging company states that it is committed to protecting users’ privacy as it does not access or read anyone’s messages or location. The WhatsApp Status comes days after Facebook announced that it is delaying its privacy policy changes rollout amid “confusion” and “misinformation.” The new date has been set to May 15 instead of February 8.

The introductory WhatsApp Status slide reads “We are committed to your privacy,” followed by it reiterating, “WhatsApp can’t read or listen to your personal conversations as they’re end-to-end encrypted.” The third slide states “WhatsApp can’t see your shared location” and the last one notes, “WhatsApp doesn’t share your contacts with Facebook.” Notably, these claims echo WhatsApp’s full-page newspaper advertisement in India that was put out last week. However, analysts have pointed out that Facebook’s claims in the advert (and same on the latest WhatsApp Status) contradict the updated Terms of Service.

According to WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, certain information such as mobile phone number, email address, and profile name is shared with Facebook to customise the experience for the user. The company would also collect location information at all times. Hence, many are criticising this change as the company is not providing relevant options for those who do not wish to provide such information. Amid all the backlash, competitors like Telegram and Signal are witnessing massive downloads.

Meanwhile, Confederation of All India Traders has filed a plea in the Supreme Court, seeking a direction to roll back the privacy policy on the ground that it is violative of laws and can impact the country’s security. The petition filed through advocate Vivek Narayan Sharma says the PIL was necessitated due to the failure of the Centre in carrying out its constitutional duty and responsibility to protect the rights to privacy and freedom of speech and expression of the citizens of India.

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