Whatsapp issues fresh clarification, says ‘update policy does not affect privacy of messages with family and friends’

New Delhi: Days after social media platform Whatsapp updated its terms of service allowing Facebook and its subsidiaries to collect user data including phone numbers and locations, the Facebook-owned messaging service has issued yet another clarification.

In a statement, the social media giant has said the change in its recently revised policy “does not affect the privacy of messages with friends or family”. “Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp”.

Sharing the list of information, it said:

“WhatsApp cannot see your private messages or hear your calls and neither can Facebook.

WhatsApp does keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling.

WhatsApp cannot see your shared location and neither can Facebook.

WhatsApp does not share your contacts with Facebook.

WhatsApp groups remain private.

You can set your messages to disappear.”

Addressing one the biggest concerns about “group privacy”, WhatsApp in the Security and Privacy section of its website states: “We don’t share this data with Facebook for ads. Again, these private chats are end-to-end encrypted so we can’t see their content.”

For “additional privacy”, it suggested users change message settings to “disappear from chats after you send them”. Complete steps on how to accomplish this have been shared on its website.

It is mandatory for the user to accept the new terms of use, failing which the user’s account would be deleted when the policy comes into effect in February.

The update has prompted an exodus of sorts from WhatsApp, which has 400 million users in India alone. Meanwhile, the rival messaging apps Signal and Telegram have since seen a sudden increase in demand.

Earlier on Monday, Turkish Competition Board said that it launched an investigation into WhatsApp and its owner Facebook Inc after the messaging app asked users to agree to its new policy.

Quoting a written statement, a report by international news agency Reuters said that the Competition Board said it ruled the data-collection requirement should be suspended until the probe is complete.


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