WhatsApp suspends intrusive data sharing policy after mass exodus

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WhatsApp has backtracked on implementation of its new privacy policy update as users worldwide dumped the messaging app for alternatives.

In December, the popular messaging app used by over two billion people in 180 countries announced its new policy which it would force its users to accept by February 8, or stop using the app. WhatsApp warned the new policy would allow it to share data with its parent, Facebook.

The announcement drew worldwide uproar, sparking a mass exodus of privacy-oriented users to flee to other messaging platforms like Signal and Telegram.

On Friday, WhatsApp raced to contain the backlash and further users’ hemorrhage, claiming its announcement was misunderstood but it has nonetheless reviewed the date of implementation of its new policy and will no longer suspend users that have yet to accept the controversial updates by February 8.

“We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms,” WhatsApp said in a statement yesterday, reports Peoples Gazette. “No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8.”

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WhatsApp said there had been misinformation about its earlier announcement on privacy policy update, adding that it’s policy update would not affect the platform’s security and WhatsApp will not share users information with Facebook.

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“This means we will always protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption, so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see these private messages. It’s why we don’t keep logs of who everyone’s messaging or calling. We also can’t see your shared location and we don’t share your contacts with Facebook”, WhatsApp said. “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… This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook.”

WhatsApp said its new policy targeting businesses on the platform would now be implemented on May 15, more than four months delay from initial schedule.

Since WhatsApp first announced the implementation of its new privacy policy update, other messaging apps such as Signal and Telegram have witnessed a surge in their user numbers as people sought for a more secure messaging app globally. Both Signal and Telegram were down significantly on Friday following a deluge of downloads and messaging requests to their respective servers.

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Both companies announced an ongoing upgrade to expand capacities of their servers to accommodate unprecedented arrival of new users.

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