WhatsApp said on Friday that until May 15, weeks after news of the new terms caused uncertainty among its users, it would not implement the proposed change to its data-sharing policy, exposed the Facebook app to a possible lawsuit, prompted a nationwide investigation and drove tens of millions of its loyal fans to try alternative messaging applications.
The date from which individuals are asked to review and approve the terms is now being pushed back. No one on February 8 will have their account suspended or deleted. We’re also trying to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation about how WhatsApp works for privacy and protection. Until new business options are available on May 15, we will then go to individuals progressively to review the strategy at their own rate,’ the company said in a blog post.
The messaging app, which serves more than two billion users, said the enforcement of the new words, which it first announced last year, was delayed over the uncertainty it generated around the world. The purpose of the delay in the planned privacy update is to provide more time for users to review the terms, the company said.
We have heard from so many people about the uncertainty surrounding our new update. The business, which ran full-page ads on several newspapers in India earlier this week, where it has accrued over 450 million monthly active users, said that there has been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help people understand our values and the truth.
Via an in-app warning, WhatsApp asked users earlier this month to agree to new terms and conditions that allow the app to share some personal details about them, such as their phone number and location, with Facebook. By February 8, users would have to adhere to these conditions if they want to continue using the app, the warning said.
The move has been mischaracterized by many as sacrificing their personal contact, which was not the case this week, WhatsApp also explained. Since 2016, WhatsApp, which Facebook acquired for $19 billion in 2014, has shared some minimal information about its users with the social giant, enabling users to opt-out for a period of time.
“None of this is changing with these changes. Alternatively, the update contains additional options that individuals will have to report to an organization on WhatsApp, which offers more clarification on how we obtain and use information. While not everyone shops with a company on WhatsApp today, we expect that more people will want to do so in the future, because these services are known to important people. WhatsApp wrote today that this update would not extend our capacity to exchange data with Facebook.
Tens of millions of confused and annoyed users have flocked to Signal and Telegram following the backlash. Signal was the top app in 40 countries on the App Store and 18 on the Google Play Store as of earlier this week.
“Signal co-founder and executive chairman Brian Acton (who also co-founded WhatsApp) said in an interview with TechCrunch earlier this week that “the smallest of events helped cause the largest result. We are also excited to have online privacy and digital security discussions and people are turning to Signal as the response to those questions.