The So-called update was to be rolled out by 8th of February, 2021 and started popping up on the screens of users from the 6th of January, 2021.
However, due to immense backlash from all over the world and constant switching of people from WhatsApp to other alternatives like Signal, Telegram, BiP, etc. the company has postponed this update for now.
The In-App Notice looked like this:
Let’s take a look at this update and why is it a headache to many:
The third key point of the attached screenshot was like this – How we partner with Facebook to offer integrations across the Facebook Company Products.
Now, what does this mean?
WhatsApp can literally share all of your personal information, whatever you give to the app, with its parent company Facebook.
This came as a big privacy threat to a lot of businesses and personnel who used to carry out private conversations through WhatsApp. They could not think of anything worse than this.
Earlier, WhatsApp was known for its amazing security features and end to end encrypted chats, which the company could not even read.
Side note: WhatsApp had actually rolled out this thing about deeper integration in the earlier policy updates. The issue is that the users had the chance to not opt-in earlier whereas they do not have it now.
WhatsApp lost millions of users on a daily basis while the competitors like Signal, Telegram and BiP gained over millions.
The Company gained massive criticism from technology experts and privacy concerns made people forced to stop using it.
Moreover, in India, traders have asked the Government to ban WhatsApp and Facebook over the policy update as reported by IndiaTVNews in an article.
WhatsApp is trying to reassure users about its unclear policy update by delaying the update and reaching the users through its Status feature.
The Verge reported to have received the following email from a WhatsApp spokesperson:
“There’s been a lot of misinformation and confusion around our recent update and we want to help everyone understand the facts behind how WhatsApp protects people’s privacy and security, going forward, we’re going to provide updates to people in the Status tab so people hear from WhatsApp directly. Our first update reaffirms that WhatsApp cannot see your personal messages and neither can Facebook, because they are protected by end-to-end encryption.”
You could find the updates related to privacy in their Legal Page.
However, all of these cannot put aside the fact that competitors and rivals of WhatsApp have gained a lot in the recent days. Signal gained so many users it cannot handle anymore and Telegram is reported to have added some more interactive features related to using emojis and stickers.
So, this is the end of the instant messenger?
Let’s hope not.