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Thursday Jan 28 2021
Web Desk

WhatsApp posts first Status update to ease users' privacy concerns

Web Desk
The WhatsApp logo. Photo: file

  • WhatsApp posts first ever Status update
  • WhatsApp assures users it can't "read or listen" to their conversations
  • One thing that isn't new is our commitment to your privacy, says WhatsApp to users

WhatsApp has started to use its own Status feature update in a bid to allay users' concerns that the app will not violate their privacy. 

Bought by Facebook in 2014, WhatsApp is one of the most popular apps of all time, used by an estimated two billion people across the globe. 

Read more: New WhatsApp policy under fire on Twitter

However, ever since its announcement a few weeks ago that WhatsApp has the right to share user data across its other units such as Messenger and Facebook, users around the globe have been switching to other messaging platforms. 

The user data included phone numbers, locations and other information. 

Read more: Does WhatsApp update impact people's private communication with family and friends?

"We'll let you know about new features and updates here," read WhatsApp's first ever Status post. "One thing that isn't new is our commitment to your privacy."

WhatsApp sends out Status update messages. 

WhatsApp clarified to users that it "can't read or listen to your personal conversations as they're end-to-end encrypted", which has been one of the main causes of concern for people, businesses and even some governments. 

However, WhatsApp has not said that it was planning to reverse its move and seems adamant on its data-sharing decision. 

 WhatsApp had sent in-app notifications to users, informing them that if they did not agree to its new terms then they won't be able to access the service after February 8, 2021. 

Why are users switching to other apps from WhatsApp?

Ever since WhatsApp introduced its new terms, users around the globe are switching to Signal and Telegram, its rival messaging platforms. 

Geo Pakistan had reached out to digital rights expert Usama Khilji to explain the impact of the new policy.

Khilji, who is also a director at digital rights organisation Bolo Bhi, had said that one-to-one conversations between users will “remain encrypted”.

However, he explained WhatsApp will provide “some information” to its parent company Facebook.

Khilji had said WhatsApp will now be able to share a user’s status, mobile being used, internet and the phone number and IP address being used by an account.

“They will use this information to target you through Facebook ads,” the Bolo Bhi director had said.