The privacy status message is appearing on top in the Status section of WhatsApp users’ accounts. The first image with a lock and an eye says, “We are committed to your privacy,” followed by, “Tap to learn more.” The next image reads, “WhatsApp can’t read or listen to your personal conversations as they’re end-to-end encrypted.” “WhatsApp can’t see your shared location,” goes the message on the third image. “WhatsApp doesn’t share your contacts with Facebook,” says the message on the last image.
The clarification aims to contain the rising exodus of users to rival platforms like Signal and Telegram. The two messaging platforms have seen a huge surge in downloads with Telegram claiming 500 million users. Signal too has seen a massive jump in downloads, with the app emerging as the No. 1 app on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store in India this week (week ending January 17). The country is WhatsApp’s biggest market.
The announcement of the new privacy update has led to many WhatsApp users believe that the company could now be able to read their chats and get access to other personal data. However, the update per se has nothing to do with individual chats or profile data. It is designed to outline how businesses who use WhatsApp for customer service may store logs of chats on Facebook servers. “We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data,” said WhatsApp in the new FAQ page published recently.