WhatsApp to move ahead with privacy update despite backlash

WhatsApp's new privacy update has sparked a global outcry and sent users to rival apps Telegram and Signal


Reuters February 19, 2021

Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp said on Thursday it will go ahead with its controversial privacy policy update but will allow users to read it at “their own pace” and will also display a banner providing additional information.

In January, the messaging platform informed users it was preparing a new privacy policy, under which it could share limited user data with Facebook and its group firms.

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It sparked a global outcry and sent users to rival apps Telegram and Signal, among others, prompting WhatsApp to delay the new policy launch to May and to clarify the update was focused on allowing users to message businesses and would not affect personal conversations.

In India, the messaging app’s biggest user base, Facebook executives fielded questions from a parliamentary panel on the need for the changes, days after the country’s technology ministry asked the messaging platform to withdraw them.

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In its latest blog, WhatsApp said it will start reminding users to review and accept updates to keep using the messaging platform.

“We’ve also included more information to try and address concerns we’re hearing,” it added.

WhatsApp’s announcement comes as parent Facebook moved to block all news content in Australia on Thursday, facing backlash from publishers and politicians, prompting a senior British lawmaker to label the move as an attempt to bully a democracy.

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