In the first week of the year, WhatsApp made yet another update, which seemed routine, but caught the attention of users, as they would have to accept their new data sharing policy with Facebook. Several people outraged by the “invasion of privacy” decided to move to alternative applications: Telegram and Signal. O Signal was the main beneficiary, having reached the top of the list of app stores in several countries. Signal promises to respect the privacy of its users and even has testimony of Edward Snowden, who “puts” his hand in the fire for this application.
WhatsApp reacted and tried to reassure its users who were migrating, saying that chats and calls would remain encrypted. To calm this storm, Facebook went further and decided to extend the deadline for the new terms to be accepted.
In a publication, on your official blog, WhatsApp assumes that the announcement of its new policy has generated some confusion and now the company is trying to reinforce the fact that the conversations would remain encrypted and that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook would be able to access messages, call logs, shared locations and contacts.
Your messages. We do not keep your messages while providing the Services. Instead, your messages are stored on your device and are not normally stored on our servers. When we deliver your messages, they are deleted from our servers. The following scenarios describe the cases in which we can store your messages during the delivery process:
- Undeliverable messages. If a message cannot be delivered immediately (for example, if the recipient is offline), we keep the message encrypted on our servers for up to 30 (thirty) days while we try to deliver it. If the message cannot be delivered after 30 (thirty) days, we will delete it.
- Media forwarding. When a user sends a message with media, we temporarily store that encrypted media on our servers, for more efficient delivery if it is forwarded again.
With this update, business accounts will be able to integrate the experience of using WhatsApp with Facebook. For example, with the new policy, a company will be able to add a WhatsApp button to its Facebook page, allowing the user to send messages requesting some information via WhatsApp.
Until May 15, Facebook expects people to check the privacy policies and feel comfortable with the fact that WhatsApp data will remain encrypted and will not be shared with Facebook. It is clear that the exception is interactions with company accounts.
In a previous post, the WhatsApp team detailed that the data it already shares with other Facebook companies includes: phone number and other information provided in the register (such as name) information about your phone, including make, model, your address IP, location and data on any payments and financial transactions made on WhatsApp
However, this does not apply in Europe and the United Kingdom, where there are different privacy laws.
So, do you think that this explanation from Facebook will be enough to convince the millions of users who started to migrate to the competition?