Saturday, March 6, 2021

WhatsApp delays enforcement of privacy terms by 3 months, following backlash – TechCrunch

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WhatsApp said on Friday that it won’t enforce its new data-sharing policy until May 15, weeks after news about the new terms created confusion among its users, exposed the Facebook-app to a potential lawsuit, launched a nationwide investigation, and drove a lot of its loyal fans to explore alternative messaging apps.

“We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15,” the firm said in a blog post.

The messaging app, which serves more than two billion users, said it was delaying the enforcement of the new terms, which it first unveiled last year, over “confusion” it has created worldwide.

“We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update. There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts,” said the company, which earlier this week ran full-page ads on several Indian newspapers.

Through an in-app alert, WhatsApp had asked users earlier this month to agree to new terms of conditions that grants the app the consent to share with Facebook some personal data about them, such as their phone number and location. Users will have to agree to these terms by February 8 if they wish to continue using the app, the alert said. The change has been mischaracterized by many as their personal communication being compromised, which WhatsApp also clarified this week was not the case.

Following the backlash, tens of millions of confused and angered users flocked to Signal and Telegram. In an interview with TechCrunch earlier this week, Signal co-founder and chairman executive Brian Acton said “the smallest of events helped trigger the largest of outcomes. We’re also excited that we are having conversations about online privacy and digital safety and people are turning to Signal as the answer to those questions.”

More to follow…

 



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