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All you need to know about the recent WhatsApp privacy policy change, and why you eventually have to accept it

We all know about the recent controversial privacy policy by WhatsApp. The new policy required users to agree to conversations being stored on Facebook servers, leading many users to think that Facebook would have access to their private chats. The backlash was so huge that the company had to halt rolling out the new update.

Due to this, users in the past few weeks have been switching to other alternatives such as Signal and Telegram in large numbers. Even after all this, WhatsApp is still planning to go ahead with their new privacy policy, the only change being this time around taking things much more slowly, and they promised to give their users plenty of time to review the changes.

In an announcement made through their blog post, WhatsApp clearly explained how they would roll out the new policy. In the coming weeks, they are going to include a banner on the top of their app and inform the users about the changes in their privacy policy. 

WhatsApp’s new banner and privacy policy explainer | Image: WhatsApp

One of WhatsApp’s main reasons to update its privacy policy is its new feature that allows people to interact with users with several other businesses through WhatsApp directly. This requires users to agree to their conversations being stored on Facebook servers, leading many users to think that Facebook would have access to their private chats. And the fact that WhatsApp is an entirely free-to-use platform and Facebook bought WhatsApp for a huge price tag of $19 billion in 2014 did not help either. People just started to weave their stories of their own, causing this whole issue. 

WhatsApp, in their blogpost, also took a dig at other companies which tried to take advantage of this situation. They said, “During this time, we understand some people may check out other apps to see what they have to offer. 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. Other apps say they’re better because 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.”

They are obviously referring to Telegram here as Signal also offers end-to-end encryption by default, whereas in Telegram, you have to turn it on for each chat manually. We now just have to wait and see how people react to WhatsApp’s decision, where however they explain it, they still don’t seem to give users a direct option to stop sharing their data with Facebook after this update. 

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