The updated terms and conditions, currently on hold, will allow WhatsApp to share some user data with parent firm Facebook though it has clarified on multiple occasions that, it “does not affect the privacy of your messages with your friends and family in any way.”
The instant messaging platform has been working to clear confusion and ‘misinformation’ around the said update through full-page newspaper ads and WhatsApp status updates.
In the coming weeks, WhatsApp will, in addition, start to display a banner within the app “providing more information that people can read at their own pace,” it said.
At the same time, the Facebook-owned company reiterated on how its service continued to remain free for all users and how only those who chose to do business on the platform were charged — that is how WhatsApp makes money.
“Some shopping features involve Facebook so that businesses can manage their inventory across apps,” it said.
Only and only those individuals who choose to engage with these businesses would be at the centre of the incoming change(s), WhatsApp said, while individual chats would continue to remain private — like always.
While there are deep concerns about privacy, among both privacy advocates and users alike, the bigger concern is WhatsApp not giving an option to opt out (at least at this point of time).
The ‘take it or leave it’ nature of the update has raised many eyebrows, and at the same time, it has led many to think about the repercussions going forward.
With Facebook embroiled in a string of data leaks in the past, many WhatsApp users are wary of this ‘mandatory’ sharing of data despite its tall privacy claims.
Same reason why more and more people have been flocking to rival chat apps like Telegram and Signal in the last few weeks.
WhatsApp has maintained that the update did not expand its ability to share data with Facebook anywhere in the world and that, interactions with businesses — which will be opt in — on the platform will be available only to the recipient party for further use rather than being used for targeted advertising by Facebook.