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WhatsApp Clarifies Its Position On Privacy Policy Update Amid Criticism

WhatsApp has issued a public response amid heavy criticism of its latest Privacy Policy update. People not just started criticizing WhatsApp for making the app and user data available for Facebook and its sister companies. But WhatsApp wanted to “address rumors” and confirm that it will “continue to protect your private messages with end-to-end encryption”.

Also Read: Top WhatsApp Alternatives And How Safe Are They?

To address all the rumors the app released the updated FAQ page app to answer various questions in the minds of several individuals regarding the new privacy policy of the app. It also said, “Our privacy policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family.”

In a public release, WhatsApp further said, “Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can read your messages or hear your calls with your friends, family, and co-workers on WhatsApp. Whatever you share, it stays between you,” it also said. In the thread, it further added, “Our privacy policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family.”

Regarding the storage of logs of user communications, the social messaging giants further said, “While traditionally mobile carriers and operators store this information, we believe that keeping these records for two billion users would be both a privacy and security risk and we don’t do it.”

There were also several concerns and questions being raised if WhatsApp and through WhatsApp even Facebook could see the location of the user. Also, information such as the shared location of the user could be read, accessed, stored, and processed by the social networking giant. But WhatsApp also clarified concerns regarding the location by stating it couldn’t see the shared location of users and neither could Facebook. The platform underlined that when someone shares a location on its app, it’s end-to-end encrypted.

Although, the app did accept it does track the user’s IP address to track and find the precise location information of user devices. The app said, “Even if you do not use our location-related features, we use IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (e.g., city and country). We also use your location information for diagnostics and troubleshooting purposes”.

About the concerns regarding the personal contacts being shared by WhatsApp to Facebook, it clarified here as well stating that “When you give us permission, we access only the phone numbers from your address book to make messaging fast and reliable, and we don’t share your contacts lists with the other apps Facebook offers.” This clearly makes it clear that WhatsApp doesn’t and won’t share the contact details of the users as well.

Not just the personal chats, but even group chats are end to end encrypted according to the latest release from WhatsApp. It said “We use group membership to deliver messages and to protect our service from spam and abuse. We don’t share this data with Facebook for ads purposes”

WhatsApp also answered questions about business operations taking place through the app, as it said “Some large businesses need to use hosting services to manage their communication. Which is why we’re giving businesses the option to use secure hosting services from Facebook to manage WhatsApp chats with their customers, answer questions, and send helpful information like purchase receipts”.

This comes after WhatsApp received heavy criticism for its updated privacy policy from users around the world. Many people have also considered and some have even made the shift to other social messaging apps such as Telegram and Signal owing to their commitment to valuing user’s privacy and keeping it as their top concern.

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Jay Kapadia

A Wannabe Computer Science Engineer, Tech-savvy individual and a Sports Geek.

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