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WhatsApp finally clarifies its policy update, but it may be too late now

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WhatsApp privacy policy FacebookSource: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central

What you need to know

  • WhatsApp has updated the FAQ page on its website to address concerns regarding its new privacy policy update.
  • The Facebook-owned messaging app says the policy update does not affect the privacy of its users in any way.
  • The only changes included in the policy update are apparently related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is an optional feature.

Earlier this month, WhatsApp updated its privacy policy, requiring users to share data with Facebook to continue using the app. Unsurprisingly, the policy hasn't gone down well with users, and many have started switching to alternatives such as Signal and Telegram. WhatsApp has now updated the FAQ page on its website to dispel "some of the rumors going around."

WhatsApp claims the policy update will not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Since personal messages are protected by end-to-end encryption, neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can read your messages or see your shared location. Instead, the new policy update only includes changes related to messaging a business, a feature that is optional.

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Whatsapp Privacy Infographic

Whatsapp Privacy InfographicSource: WhatsApp

If you choose to use WhatsApp's commerce features, your shopping activity could be used to personalize your experience and the ads that are shown to you on Facebook and Instagram. Facebook may also use the way you interact with ads that have a button to message a business using WhatsApp to personalize the ads you see.

Some large businesses need to use hosting services to manage their communication. Which is why we're giving businesses the option to use secure hosting services from Facebook to manage WhatsApp chats with their customers, answer questions, and send helpful information like purchase receipts. But whether you communicate with a business by phone, email, or WhatsApp, it can see what you're saying and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook.

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Disappointingly, however, the statements posted on the company's FAQ page contradict the terms of its latest privacy policy. As we reported last week, WhatsApp will be sharing personal information such as your profile name, profile picture, IP address, phone number, contacts list, app logs, as well as status messages with Facebook and its companies.

If you do not want Facebook to access any of your WhatsApp, the only option is to switch to a different messaging app. The two of the best options to consider right now are Signal and Telegram. While Telegram isn't nearly as secure as WhatsApp, Signal offers pretty much all the features that make WhatsApp so popular – including the same end-to-end encryption protocol.

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