WhatsApp now officially uses the app’s Status feature to campaign its privacy policy

After receiving backlash, globally, now WhatsApp is using its Status feature on the app to campaign for its privacy policy. Like Stories on Instagram, the Status feature on WhatsApp allows users to post pictures and videos which their contacts can view.

In January, WhatsApp had announced that its new privacy policy going into effect on February 8, 2021, would give Facebook complete access to users’ data. Although the app’s privacy policy allows data sharing with the parent company by default, existing users have the option to opt-out of it. Under the new privacy policy, the app would store:

  • Usage and log information
  • Device and connection information
  • Location information
  • Cookie

However, the update has been delayed because, concerned over sharing their personal information with Facebook, WhatsApp users around the world protested against the new privacy update on social media and began to look for other social messaging apps like Telegram which gained 25 million new users due to the controversial update.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp informs users of its new features and updates via the app’s Status feature

Opening with “WhatsApp is now on Status! We’ll let you know about new features and updates here”, the very first story of the platform reinforced that all messages on the app are protected with end-to-end encryption as the platform’s commitment to users’ privacy and that the messaging app does not “read or listen” to users’ personal conversations.

WhatsApp

At the time of announcing the delay of the controversial update to May 15, 2021, a WhatsApp spokesperson said that there was a lot of misinformation and confusion about the upcoming changes in the privacy policy. The company said it is postponing the release date so that it can spread awareness of how the new update will impact them.

With these updates, none of that is changing. Instead, the update includes new options people will have to message a business on WhatsApp, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data. While not everyone shops with a business on WhatsApp today, we think that more people will choose to do so in the future and it’s important people are aware of these services. This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook.

Ever since Apple announced the imminent release of its new iOS privacy feature, App Tracking Transparency, which will make it mandatory for developers to seek iPhone users person to track their online activity across third-party apps and websites, Facebook has vehemently opposed the update. After its failed ad campaign to gain public support against the ATT feature, the company ultimately gave in to showing permission prompt.

In light of Facebook’s reaction to users’ privacy, and the fact that it owns WhatsApp, users’ concerns about their privacy were heightened.

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