WhatsApp Delay Privacy Updates Until May 2021

At the beginning of 2021, Facebook announced changes in their WhatsApp Privacy Policy that stirred up the media and coincidently benefited other rival services. Given the chaos among the public, Facebook has recently announced a three month delay to their privacy update.

WhatsApp Delayed Privacy Updates

Through a recent blog post, Facebook announced a delayed implementation of their WhatsApp privacy updates. The new announcement arrived following a backlash from users after WhatsApp compelled everyone to agree to the changes.

Briefly, WhatsApp’s new Privacy Policy elaborates on how WhatsApp will share users’ data with Facebook. That includes collecting users’ device identifiers, usage stats, time logs, IP addresses, location, and more.

Though, after facing the backlash, WhatsApp clarified that these changes specifically affect the users who communicate via business accounts. And that the updates neither affect the e2e encryption nor involves sharing of users’ messages and chats with Facebook (as portrayed by the memes on social media).

Nonetheless, this clarification didn’t specifically mention the details WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy revealed to begin sharing with Facebook.

During the past few days, WhatsApp’s key rivals experienced a surge in their user base. Signal and Telegram gained millions of new users in just a few days.

Eventually, given all this chaos, WhatsApp announced that it will delay the implementation of the new updates.

The announcements came a few weeks before the previous deadline of February 8, 2021, until which, WhatsApp was supposed to delete all accounts not agreeing with the new terms. Now, it will not delete any accounts on or after February 8, 2021. Rather it has extended this timeline to May 15, 2021, until which, it’ll further elaborate on the privacy updates.

We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8… We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15.

‘No Change In How WhatsApp Shared Data With Facebook’ – Clarifies WhatsApp

Regarding the specifics in the wording (and elaboration) in the new Privacy Policy, WhatsApp stated in its post,

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.

While it’s true that WhatsApp had already introduced a way to share users’ data with Facebook, it was an optional choice for users. Users could even opt-out of that option to avoid providing unwanted consent of data sharing with Facebook.

However, the latest update of January 4, 2021, provided no choice to users. It also remains unclear whether it will provide any such option to the users in the coming days.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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