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Sci-Tech
Friday Feb 19 2021
By
Web Desk

WhatsApp ignores backlash, will go ahead with new terms and services

By
Web Desk
The image shows logo of WhatsApp.

  • Facebook says it will eventually start reminding users to accept updated terms and service
  • WhatsApp to display banner in chats to provide more “information” regarding new terms and service 
  • Facebook-owned company hits out at rivals after users started deleting app and opting for other options due to privacy concerns


WhatsApp on Thursday said it will be going ahead with the new terms and services despite the backlash it faced from users across the world.

However, the Facebook-owned company has said that it will start “reminding” people to accept the updated terms and conditions after asking users to review the terms of service and privacy policy. 

The company admitted that it had “previously encountered a great deal of misinformation” and is now working hard to clear up “any confusion”.

“As a reminder, we’re building new ways to chat or shop with a business on WhatsApp that are entirely optional. Personal messages will always be end-to-end encrypted, so WhatsApp can’t read or listen to them,” the messaging app said in a blog.

Read more: WhatsApp can be used to 'blackmail' you, warns FIA

WhatsApp assured users that it has “reflected” on what could be done better, and reminded people of the company’s “history of defending end-to-end encryption”.

“We’re now using our Status feature to share our values and updates directly within WhatsApp. We’ll be doing much more to make our voice clear going forward,” said the company.

Facebook-owned app said that in the coming weeks WhatsApp will display a banner to provide more “information” regarding the new terms and service so people can read at their own pace.

Read more: Setback for WhatsApp as Telegram becomes most downloaded app in January

“We’ve also included more information to try and address concerns we’re hearing. Eventually, we’ll start reminding people to review and accept these updates to keep using WhatsApp,” said the Facebook-owned company.

WhatsApp attacks rivals

The Facebook-owned company also attacked its rivals, without taking any names, that became popular after users started deleting the app and opting for other options due to privacy concerns.

“We’ve seen some of our competitors try to get away with claiming they can’t see people’s messages - if an app doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default that means they can read your messages, Said the company.

Read more: WhatsApp updates its terms and services for users across the world

It also hit out at those apps claiming that they are more secure as “they know even less information than WhatsApp”.

“We believe people are looking for apps to be both reliable and safe, even if that requires WhatsApp having some limited data. We strive to be thoughtful on the decisions we make and we’ll continue to develop new ways of meeting these responsibilities with less information, not more,” said the company.

'Just adding news ways to communicate with businesses'

Following the release of the blog Head of WhatsApp at Facebook Will Cathcart also shared a video on Twitter explaining the way forward for the company.

Cathcart assured users again that WhatsApp was not “changing the privacy” of a user’s “personal conversations”. He explained that the company was just adding “new ways” to communicate with businesses.

WhatsApp also thanked everyone who has “helped” them “address concerns” and assured users that it will be “available to answer any questions”. 

WhatsApp posts first Status update to ease users' privacy concerns

Last month, WhatsApp 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.

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.

Read more: PTA issues statement on WhatsApp privacy policy

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

"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."

Read more: Here's how you can protect your WhatsApp account best

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”.

Read more: What information does WhatsApp collect from its users?

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.