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This article was published on February 18, 2021

WhatsApp will ease you into accepting its privacy policy with a banner

WhatsApp will ease you into accepting its privacy policy with a banner
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Last month, when WhatsApp introduced its new privacy policy through a pop-up banner on the app, people freaked out. It turned out to be a communication disaster and users started a mass exodus to other apps such as Telegram and Signal.

The Facebook-owned company’s initial plan was to roll out this policy by February 8. However, because of the backlash, it had to postpone this update to May 15.

WhatsApp is not changing its schedule or privacy policy. But it’s introducing a banner in the app to make you understand it better. You can tap on the banner to read the explainer, learn more, and accept it.

You can just choose to read at the moment, but you’ll eventually have to accept it by May 15 to keep using the service. If you don’t want to accept these changes, your account will be disabled.p

Credit: WhatsApp
WhatsApp privacy policy banner

Here’s what WhatsApp wants you to know: your chats are encrypted and the company can’t see them and it won’t share all of your contact and data to Facebook. Well, ideally I want the app to tell me what it IS sharing with Facebook. You can read what WhatsApp is changing in our explainer we published last month.

Mark Zuckerberg has already kicked off his vision of integrating all messaging apps by linking Messenger and Instagram Direct. However, if and when the company begins integrating WhatsApp, we would need to know what we’re giving up for that feature.

After its initial announcement, WhatsApp has been trying to explain its policy better through Status feature

In its blog, WhatsApp also explained that the new privacy policy paves way for businesses to operate on the platform. That’s how the company will make money and keep the app free for end-users:

We also think it’s important people know how we can provide WhatsApp for free. Every day millions of people start a WhatsApp chat with a business because it’s easier to do so than placing a phone call or exchanging emails.

We charge businesses to provide customer service on WhatsApp – not people. Some shopping features involve Facebook so that businesses can manage their inventory across apps. We display more information [note: this will link to what you have in the attached] directly in WhatsApp so people can choose if they want to engage with businesses, or not.

Bottom line is that WhatsApp is not changing its privacy policy, but it’s communicating the terms better in hopes that people who are in doubt might not switch platforms.

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