The latest response from WhatsApp on this topic states, “Our aim is to provide transparency and new options available to engage with businesses so they can serve their customers and grow. WhatsApp will always protect personal messages with end-to-end encryption so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see them. We are working to address misinformation and remain available to answer any questions.”
Ever since stumbling into a major cross-current of controversy with its new privacy and data sharing policy, WhatsApp has repeatedly attempted to convince people with advertisements and multiple media statements, saying that it remains efficient as always to protect the data of users with end-to-end encryption. However, privacy and security advocates around the world have since highlighted WhatsApp’s collection of user metadata in the background, which the Indian government has also highlighted in recent times as to how it represents a significant threat to the general safety of user data on the app.
WhatsApp, however, has claimed that its new policy does not state anything new for personal consumers. Instead, its new policy only affects businesses, and it in fact expands the ability for small businesses on WhatsApp to share certain prior-agreed data with Facebook to expand the scope of business. The Facebook group has also previously attempted to show itself as the messiah of small businesses by opposing a clearly privacy-focussed move by Apple, which has mandated that starting with the latest iOS 14 update, any app looking to silently collect user data on various operations in the background will need to take approval from users.
As WhatsApp remains adamantly stuck at shoving end-to-end encryption and small businesses as answers to its significant and very real data security concerns, it remains to be seen if the ongoing controversy eventually ends up making a significant dent on the numbers that the app has enjoyed so far. WhatsApp still enjoys an overwhelmingly powerful market position, but competing privacy-centric services such as Signal and Telegram have witnessed sharp growth rates in the very recent times.