WhatsApp extends initial Feb. 8 deadline for users to review updated privacy policy

WhatsApp said it wants to 'clear up the misinformation' about its updated privacy policy.

Nigel Chua | January 16, 2021, 11:57 AM

On Jan. 6, 2021, WhatsApp announced an update to its privacy policy, setting a deadline of Feb. 8 for users to review the updates.

The Feb. 8 deadline has now been pushed back, so that users can "review the policy at their own pace" while giving the company time to "clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp," according to a Jan. 15 blog post by WhatsApp.

The messaging platform added that it would "go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15."

However, it is not clear whether May 15 is the new cut-off date for users to review and accept the updated privacy policy.

The initial in-app pop-up message to users said that after Feb. 8, users would be required to accept the updates before continuing to use the messaging app.

What are the changes?

WhatsApp's FAQs say that the privacy policy update "includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional".

WhatsApp also went on to also explain how things were before, recapping the data that WhatsApp does not have access to, in a tweet on Jan. 12.

WhatsApp was quick to clarify — as the first item on its FAQ page — that it cannot access any of the content of chats or calls between individual users, which are end-to-end encrypted (meaning that only the end-users at both sides of the conversation get to read messages).

This was the arrangement even before the privacy policy update, since 2016.

WhatsApp also clarified that it would not keep your call or message logs, share your contacts with Facebook, or see your location.

Instead, the updated privacy policy states that information from messages you send to businesses, and your shopping activity, can be used for marketing purposes.

This means that businesses you interact with can send you more targeted advertising, and you might have a more personalised shopping experience on Facebook.

Therefore, if you do not plan to use WhatsApp to shop or interact with business accounts, you're not going to be affected by the new changes.

WhatsApp under scrutiny

WhatsApp has come under scrutiny for its updated privacy policy, a fact which it acknowledged in its blogpost, which said:

"We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update. There's been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts."

"This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook," it added.

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Top images by Nigel Chua and via WhatsApp