WhatsApp is currently in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Their recent update to the privacy terms and conditions has stirred up controversy and people and are flocking to other apps in large numbers.
The response was so negative that WhatsApp was forced to respond and explain exactly what is changing. That didn’t help and to do damage control, WhatsApp has officially postponed its plans for the update.
When is the update happening?
Initially, the update was going to happen on 8th February. With so much backlash, the update has been postponed until 15th May.
What’s being changed?
According to WhatsApp, only business-related changes are coming.
As online shopping and ecommerce continue to boom, WhatsApp plans to get into this market. To do that, they’ve planned to add more business oriented services that would make it easier for people to purchase through WhatsApp.
Here’s how they plan to do it.
- Enabling customer service: Before making a purchase, people often ask questions from the business directly. WhatsApp wants to allow businesses who use Facebook to communicate with customers more easily. If a business opts to use this service, they will use hosting provided by Facebook.
- Discovering businesses: While Facebook already uses some of our data to generate personalized ads, they’re repeating that if you click on those ads, they’ll learn more about us and show better, targeted ads.
- Shopping experiences: Businesses on Facebook and Instagram will be able to host shops on WhatsApp. This will allow customers to not only talk directly with those businesses, but shop at the same time as well. While doing so, WhatsApp is supposed to tell us how they will collect more of our data.
While explaining all this, they stressed that they won’t be able to read any of our messages. That’s because they’re secured through end-to-end encryption. We’ve already given our opinion on the strength of this security mechanism so we won’t explain it here any further.
What’s not changing?
WhatsApp has stressed that these changes do not allow them to collect our data any way they want. People think otherwise because WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and Facebook thrives on user data to be profitable.
As more businesses begin to appear on WhatsApp, people suspect that they will use this as another opportunity to collect data and make everything more personalized.
WhatsApp claims that nothing about private communication (calls and chats) is changing and users should not be worried.
I love understanding how different technologies work and explaining them to people. From tech guides to opinions, everything is interesting to me. Other than that, I enjoy writing about various science-related topics and conversing with people.