WhatsApp is updating how it relays policy updates to users

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At the top of 2021 WhatsApp had egg on its face following an incredibly poor communication regarding updates to its privacy policy.

While the company quickly addressed concerns from users, there is still concern regarding the sharing of data between Facebook and WhatsApp, prompting the messaging platform to take another swing at updating users.

You might recall WhatsApp turning to its Status feature to update users but this solution has a flaw – a Status update is only visible for 24 hours.

This means that if you say, wanted to go back and read up about the changes, you were out of luck.

So WhatsApp is adding another way to communicate changes to users.

“In the coming weeks, we’ll display a banner in WhatsApp providing more information that people can read at their own pace. We’ve also included more information to try and address concerns we’re hearing. Eventually, we’ll start reminding people to review and accept these updates to keep using WhatsApp,” the firm wrote in a press release.

You can see an example of what this will look like below. If the image is unclear you can click it to expand it.

As you can see, users will now be shown a banner that directs them to a simple explanation of what the update entails.

However, WhatsApp is well aware that many users have turned it’s back on the service and so, it also decided to slam alternatives.

“During this time, we understand some people may check out other apps to see what they have to offer. We’ve seen some of our competitors try to get away with claiming they can’t see people’s messages – if an app doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default that means they can read your messages. Other apps say they’re better because they know even less information than WhatsApp. We believe people are looking for apps to be both reliable and safe, even if that requires WhatsApp having some limited data. We strive to be thoughtful on the decisions we make and we’ll continue to develop new ways of meeting these responsibilities with less information, not more,” wrote WhatsApp.

Wow, thankfully with all this shade being thrown about we’re unlikely to get sunburn.

The “other apps” WhatsApp is referring to are likely Telegram and Signal. Telegram does offer end-to-end encryption but that relies on users starting Secret Chats. Signal requires the least amount of user data of all the IM platforms we’ve used and also offers end-to-end encryption.

While we understand WhatsApp is trying to win users back, slamming competitors is not a good look and for all intents and purposes, makes WhatsApp look like it’s punching down.

The fact of the matter is that Facebook has done little to earn the trust of its users and now it’s family of products is having to pay the price. These updates seem like WhatsApp is bolting the door after the horse has made a clean getaway.

Will this tempt users to come back to WhatsApp? We don’t think it will but at least WhatsApp is making updates clearer for existing users.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.

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