WhatsApp has been notifying users of its new terms of service that come into effect on February 8.
The new policy change comes with this option to either agree to the updated terms or lose access to one’s account.
This has naturally alarmed WhatsApp users especially considering Facebook’s poor reputation with user data.
It has now clarified on what the new terms mean for users, and their data.
The new WhatsApp terms explain the messaging app will share data with Facebook.
Data includes personal details such as phone number, profile name and address book information.
In a statement, WhatsApp said that the new data policies are for users messaging businesses on the platform.
The messaging app added that this does not change how user data is currently handled by the company.
“As we announced in October, WhatsApp wants to make it easier for people to both make a purchase and get help from a business directly on WhatsApp. While most people use WhatsApp to chat with friends; and family, increasingly people are reaching out to businesses as well.
Though of course; it remains up to the user whether or not they want to message with a business on WhatsApp,” The Verge quoted WhatsApp as saying.
“The update does not change WhatsApp’s data sharing practices with Facebook; and does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family wherever they are in the world.
The messaging app remains deeply committed to protecting people’s privacy.
We are communicating directly with users through WhatsApp about these changes so they have time to review the new policy; over the course of the next month,” the statement added.
The furore over WhatsApp’s new policy changes even led to Elon Musk tweeting about it; and telling people to use Signal instead.
Shortly after Signal announced it is facing shortage of verification codes with a host of people trying to sign up on the privacy-focused messaging app.
The messaging app is still the most popular messaging app globally with over 1.4 billion users.
This incident has surely caused an uproar but we’ll have to see how much of an impact it can actually make on the messaging app’s user base.