WhatsApp expands Status messaging to reassure users about privacy

New Delhi: Facing backlash over its upcoming privacy policy, WhatsApp that has been using its Status feature to allay fears in India for some time now, has now expanded its “commitment to your privacy” message to the users in the US and UK as well.

The in-app messages started appearing for users in the US and UK on Saturday in Status which is WhatsApp’s version of Snapchat Stories or Twitter Fleets.

The messages read “One thing that isn’t new is our commitment to your privacy,” along with a reminder that “WhatsApp can’t read or listen to your personal conversations as they’re end-to-end encrypted,” reports The Verge.

A WhatsApp spokesperson said: “Going forward, we’re going to provide updates to people in the Status tab so people hear from WhatsApp directly”.

“Our first update reaffirms that WhatsApp cannot see your personal messages, and neither can Facebook, because they are protected by end-to-end encryption”.

Earlier this month, the Facebook-owned app moved back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms, from February 8 to May 15.

“We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15,” it said.
Meanwhile, a plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking an interim stay on the operation of the new privacy policy of WhatsApp, the application with more than 400 million users in the country.

The Internet Freedom Foundation has argued that application has been necessitated by the imminent harm which is likely to result from the implementation of WhatsApp’s new Privacy Policy scheduled to go into effect on February 8, but reportedly deferred till May 15.

As the Indian government asks WhatsApp to withdraw, not defer, the new user data privacy policy, a new nationwide study revealed last week that 79 per cent of consumers among those surveyed are re-considering their WhatsApp usage.

While an overwhelming 79 per cent are reconsidering using WhatsApp, 28 per cent of those even plan to leave WhatsApp after implementation of its new policy in May 2021, according to new research by CyberMedia Research (CMR), a Gurugram-based market research firm.


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