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Why Are Users Against WhatsApp’s Latest Privacy Policy & Leaving The App? Here’s What You Need To Know

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Source: Fortune & Information Age

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If you’re not already aware, WhatsApp will be updating its terms and privacy policy in an upcoming update. But this new update announcement has been causing a lot of uproar from users. Many WhatsApp users have been planning to abandon the application and are turning to other alternatives as they’re dissatisfied with the changes.

If you are wondering why many are outraged about this matter, here is what you need to know.

 

WhatsApp and Facebook Are A ‘Team’

Firstly, if you don’t already know that Facebook bought over WhatsApp back in February 2014. WhatsApp is, by far, Facebook’s largest acquisition as it is over 20 times larger compared to Facebook’s Instagram acquisition.

According to Global News, the company announced on 6 January that it will ‘force’ users to share data from the messaging app to Facebook.

Whatsapp Policy

Back then when there were new privacy updates, WhatsApp has kept it optional whereby you can choose not to accept it but still get to use their application nevertheless. However, this will not be the case this time around.

By not accepting the new privacy policy, they no longer permit you to use the application. Still don’t quite get why this is scary? 

Well, this means the data that they will be sharing with Facebook includes battery level information, IP address, browser information, mobile network, phone numbers, and the internet service providers, as explained by Independent.

Of course, due to the app being end-to-end encrypted, this data sharing does not include the contents of users’ chats.

 

WhatsApp’s Response

Knowing that many of its users are worried after the backlash that they have faced, WhatsApp clarifies its new privacy policy even further by publishing a new FAQ page to their website.

In the FAQ, they explain that the changes that would be active from 8 February onwards will only affect ‘businesses’ who use WhatsApp and not individual users.

WhatsApp also explains that the change will not affect user messaging. But, it will include some changes that are related to when you message a business that’s using the application.

“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,” WhatsApp explained on their FAQ page.

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They added on to say “Messaging with businesses is different than messaging with your family or friends. Some large businesses need to use hosting services to manage their communication which is why 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.”

This would mean that communication on WhatsApp that is between friends and family should not be affected by the upcoming privacy changes.

Regardless of their clarification, users are still uncomfortable.

 

So, what’s the big deal then? 

Your privacy is still impacted because WhatsApp holds some data about you.

Although WhatsApp has made us feel much better by clarifying that our chats will not be shared in this new policy, there are other points that should be highlighted which is why most people are still freaked out.

In this case, if you really think about it, it’s more about how most of us feel, rather than how things are. Just like how it was explained in the Independent, Whatsapp may or may not share our data with Facebook but it feels like it does. STILL don’t get it?!

How many of us have encountered this strange feeling of our phones listening in to our conversations? You know what we mean.

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Like the time when you and a friend are talking about going for a vacay together and awhile later when you are browsing through social media, you start to see advertisements for hotel rooms and Airbnb’s.

Or the time you were talking to your partner about wanting to move in together or tying the knot and the next thing you know, you see advertisements for engagement rings and new properties in your city.

Although our mobile phones are probably not exactly listening to our conversations, the mass information about our location, preferences, chat history that are all collected is the reason why these odd encounters happen.

So, it is super important to pay attention to the privacy policy and settings of your devices. Yes, it is over 4,000 words but we highly recommend that you don’t simply agree to it without reading the policy thoroughly because you may not know what you’re agreeing to.

What do you think of WhatsApp’s changes to its privacy policy? Let us know in the comment section below. 

 

Also Read: WhatsApp Warns Users That The Service Would Stop For Some Phone Models Starting 1 January 2021

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Source: XDA
Source: Fortune


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