There has been a lot of speculation about what this means, and some believe that starting May 15 (the day these changes finally go into effect after WhatsApp changed the original February 5 date), the company owned by WhatsApp, Facebook, will have access to our private data.
Unsurprisingly, all of this has caused a lot of noise, especially on social media, where users are opposing these changes and encouraging others to use Signal and Telegram, two messaging apps that use end-to-end encryption.
But should we be concerned about the new WhatsApp policy? Should you stop using it? In our opinion, no. The changes will not affect your calls and private messages, as they will continue to use the same end-to-end encryption.
What WhatsApp privacy terms will change?
- Private messages will remain encrypted.
- Facebook (and WhatsApp) will not be able to read your messages.
- WhatsApp does not record who you text or who you call.
- Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook will be able to see your shared locations.
- Your WhatsApp contacts will not be shared with Facebook.
- WhatsApp group conversations will remain private.
- Communications with a business on WhatsApp may not be private.
In this way, Facebook would emulate WeChat, the popular Chinese messaging app in which payments can be made with great success for a while.
“Not everyone will know how common it is in some countries to send messages to businesses on WhatsApp. In fact, around 175 million people send messages to a business account on WhatsApp every day and many more want to, ”said Will Cathcart, WhatsApp manager at Facebook.
“It is important for us to clarify that this update refers to communications with businesses and does not change the data that WhatsApp shares with Facebook. It will have no impact on the way people communicate privately with their friends or family wherever they are, ”he also said.
To clarify any doubts, the official WhatsApp Twitter published an infographic that summarizes the key points about the new changes, also with the aim of preventing its users from switching to other services such as Signal.
This January 15, WhatsApp was forced to respond to the concerns of its users, this time extending the deadline for accepting the new conditions. Instead of February 8, they will have until May 15. The company is committed to better reporting changes before the day arrives.
What data does WhatsApp share with Facebook?
As for the data shared with Facebook, it has been happening for years and surely without the knowledge of users. Nothing will change. When Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, it allowed users to stop sharing data through a notification sent in 2016.
But anyone who ignored the notification or for some reason did not manually choose to stop sharing data, as well as anyone who started using WhatsApp since then, will have agreed to Facebook having access to their WhatsApp number and name.
Why does this not affect Europe and Latin America?
This data protection regulation contemplates stricter restrictions on the information shared between companies, which means that in Europe there is no change in the data shared with the new WhatsApp policy.
In fact, it was stated by the policy director in WhatsApp’s EMEA area on Twitter:
3/5 There is no change to WhatsApp’s data sharing practices in Europe following this update. The fact remains that WhatsApp does not share user data from the European region WhatsApp with Facebook for the purpose of Facebook using this data to improve its products or advertising.
– Niamh Sweeney (@NiamhSweeneyNYC)
January 7, 2021
“There is no change in WhatsApp data sharing practices in Europe due to this update. It is still true that WhatsApp does not share the data of European WhatsApp users with Facebook so that Facebook uses this data to improve its products or advertisements, ”he tweeted.
Should you continue to use WhatsApp?
It is up to you to decide whether you trust Facebook and WhatsApp’s explanations of the changes. It’s already a hassle to have to switch to another application, but all the more so since you will have to convince your friends to do the same.
If you end up doing it, you won’t be the only one. These days, Signal has become one of the most downloaded apps on the App Store, with over 100,000 new subscriptions since notifications started going out.
Telegram, on the other hand, also took advantage. While it does not come with encryption enabled by default, it does offer the option of using it. The company made sure that in just 72 hours it gained 25 million new users.