Facebook presses pause on WhatsApp privacy policy change after backlash

WhatsApp privacy policy Facebook
WhatsApp privacy policy Facebook (Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp continues to grapple with the fallout from changes it plans on making to its privacy policy.
  • The company has claimed that these changes are simply to further its growth in the e-commerce market and does not share any additional data with parent company Facebook.
  • However, this new policy will no longer take effect in February but will be pushed back three months till May.

WhatsApp's planned privacy policy update have resulted in a powerful backlash towards both itself and Facebook over the past week. The new policy, for the unaware, will result in more data than some are comfortable with being shared among WhatsApp, Facebook, and other Facebook-owned companies.

The company has tried to clarify its position and has now been forced to backtrack on this imminent change. Users will now have an additional three months — till May — to review and adopt the new terms of service if they so choose. The company will also now try and allay concerns and "clear up misinformation" around its stance on data privacy.

As for the changes being made to its privacy policy. WhatsApp continues to defend them, saying:

With these updates, none of that is changing. Instead, the update includes new options people will have to message a business on WhatsApp, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data. While not everyone shops with a business on WhatsApp today, we think that more people will choose to do so in the future and it's important people are aware of these services. This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook.

In the meantime, the controversy around the app has driven downloads to rivals like Signal and Telegram, the latter of which has seen its daily active users shoot to 500 million following the backlash.

Michael Allison