Popular messaging app WhatsApp on Tuesday clarified that its new policy update does not affect the privacy of users’ messages with friends or family.
In a statement, the app owned by social media giant Facebook said the update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how it collects and uses data.
We want to address some rumors and be 100% clear we continue to protect your private messages with end-to-end encryption. pic.twitter.com/6qDnzQ98MP— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) January 12, 2021
We can’t see your private messages or hear your calls
“Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can read your messages or hear your calls with your friends, family, and co-workers on WhatsApp. Whatever you share, it stays between you. That’s because your personal messages are protected by end-to-end encryption. We will never weaken this security and we clearly label each chat so you know our commitment,” the statement published on WhatsApp website said.
We don’t keep logs of calls or messages
While traditionally mobile carriers and operators store this information, “we believe that keeping these records for two billion users would be both a privacy and security risk and we don’t do it”.
We can’t see your shared location
“When you share your location with someone on WhatsApp, your location is protected by end-to-end encryption, which means no one can see your location except the people you share it with.”
We don’t share your contacts with Facebook
The app said when a user gives it permission, it accesses only the phone numbers from the address book to make messaging fast and reliable. "We don’t share your contacts lists with the other apps Facebook offers.”
Groups remain private
“We use group membership to deliver messages and to protect our service from spam and abuse. We don’t share this data with Facebook for ads purposes. Again, these private chats are end-to-end encrypted so we can’t see their content,” the statement added.
WhatsApp said the policy change is to make the users’ communication with businesses easier and better. "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. But whether you communicate with a business by phone, email, or WhatsApp, it can see what you’re saying and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook. To make sure you’re informed, we clearly label conversations with businesses that are choosing to use hosting services from Facebook.”
The app said if a user choose to interact with Shops, the shopping activity can be used to personalise the Shops experience and the ads on Facebook and Instagram. “Features like this are optional and when you use them we will tell you in the app how your data is being shared with Facebook,” it clarified.