Divisive WhatsApp privacy policy delayed until 15th May, but damage is done

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By now the mass exodus from WhatsApp is well known, with an impending change to its privacy policy resulting in many users opting for a different messaging service over fears of encrypted messages being accessed by third parties. While there is a lot of confusion over that very point, the recent backlash has forced WhatsApp to delay the rollout of its latest privacy policy update.

The Facebook-owned platform is delaying it by three months, implementing it on 15th May instead of 8th February, it explained in a recent blog post.

“While not everyone shops with a business on WhatsApp today, we think that more people will choose to do so in the future and it’s important people are aware of these services. This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook.

We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15.,” reads the post.

While the delay might stop a few users from moving from the platform, the fact that WhatsApp is still going ahead with its privacy policy update changes very little, and as such, it does not look likely that those who left the messaging service at the beginning of the year will return simply because the update has been delayed by three months.

Based on the wording from the blog post above, it also looks like those who do not accept the new terms by 15th May will have their accounts suspended regardless.

Hopefully though, the choice to educate users as to its policy changes yields the desired result, as initial communications regarding this privacy policy change has been poor.

“WhatsApp helped bring end-to-end encryption to people across the world and we are committed to defending this security technology now and in the future. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us and to so many who have helped spread facts and stop rumors. We will continue to put everything we have into making WhatsApp the best way to communicate privately,” the blog post ends.

Either way, it’s going to take quite a lot for WhatsApp to win back the users it has lost in 2021 to date.

[Image – Photo by AARN GIRI on Unsplash]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.

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