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WhatsApp clarifies its new privacy policy; says it doesn’t share users contacts with Facebook


Facebook-owned instant messaging and UPI-based payments app WhatsApp has clarified its new privacy policy after facing flak from users across the world. The development comes a week after it introduced a new privacy policy with a deadline until February 8 to accept the new terms.

“We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data,” said WhatsApp on its official website.

According to WhatsApp, it can’t see users’ private messages or hear their calls and neither can Facebook. In its frequently asked questions (FAQ) section, it emphasised that it doesn’t share users’ contact with Facebook and both companies also can’t see their shared location.

“Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can read your messages or hear your calls with your friends, family, and co-workers on WhatsApp. Whatever you share, it stays between you. That’s because your personal messages are protected by end-to-end encryption,” the messaging app added.

Since its introduction, WhatsApp’s new privacy policy has created a stir among users and reports of exodus of consumers from WhatsApp to other similar platforms including Signal and Telegram have also cropped up. 

According to Sensor Tower data, Signal has recorded 2.3 million installs in India between January 6 to January 10. During the first five days of January, the app was installed only 24,000 times. On the other hand, WhatsApp’s download saw a decline from 2 million between January 1 and January 5 to 1.3 million between January 6 to January 10.

In India, WhatsApp’s monthly active users are estimated to have crossed 450 million mark.

Soon after the update on WhatsApp’s new privacy policy, Elon Musk, world’s richest person and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, took it to Twitter and asked his close to 42 million followers to shift to Signal. His endorsement even caused a temporary slowdown and sudden rise in the number of users joining Signal.

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma also expressed his anger towards WhatsApp and Facebook and accused them of monopoly and taking away the privacy of millions of users. 

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