WhatsApp seems to be ‘decongesting’ with its new privacy policy update

Whatever information WhatsApp automatically collects from you will be shared with Facebook. This includes your mobile phone number and basic information you give when you create a WhatsApp account.

WhatsApp seems to be lightening its load with its new privacy policy update
Photo Credit: Webwise.ie

According to the new privacy policy update, users will now have to agree to WhatsApp’s privacy policy and if the user does not consider it necessary to agree to it, they will have to say goodbye to WhatsApp services and applications.

WhatsApp which is being used by not millions but billions of people has become the center of attention to all over the world due to its new privacy policy update over the last few days. People from all walks of life in the world are taking full advantage of its services. Everybody uses its services, whether it’s a small business or to keep in touch during the Coronavirus pandemic. As if WhatsApp has become an integral part of life. Whether you want to share photos with friends or keep in touch with your family miles away, the first thing that comes to our mind is of course WhatsApp.

With the start of the New Year 2021, some of the news items that gained popularity included a WhatsApp privacy policy update, which led to criticism of WhatsApp on many platforms, including social media, and users calling it quits. Advised and its alternative app became popular among consumers under the name of SignalApp. Today we will try to explain in detail about this new privacy policy of WhatsApp and try to answer the question of what is wrong with WhatsApp’s new privacy policy that has caused WhatsApp to face so much criticism.

WhatsApp seems to be lightening its load with its new privacy policy update
Photo Credit: Webwise.ie

WhatsApp users have until February 8 to accept these new terms and conditions, WhatsApp meanwhile has repeated that all messages are end-to-end encrypted same as recent privacy policies.

WhatsApp has indicated that users may not be able to access their WhatsApp accounts if they do not accept the new terms and agreements (updated on January 4). A new notification has been popping up on every user’s WhatsApp notifying them that now the terms and policies are being updated.

This new update has caused a lot of concern over the new privacy policy, especially with respect to data sharing with its parent company Facebook.

Whatever information WhatsApp automatically collects from you will be shared with Facebook. This includes your mobile phone number and basic information you give when you create a WhatsApp account.

What is WhatsApp sharing with other Apps?

WhatsApp collects and shares user activity, how often you use WhatsApp, features you use, your display picture, your status and ‘about’ information.

It also collects technical information like what device you use, your mobile network, IP address. It also collects and uses precise location information from your device, but with your permission.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy says that it may share your information with its other applications like Facebook, to “facilitate, support and integrate their activities and improve our services and user experience.”

 “We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings, including the Facebook Company Products,” WhatsApp says.

Your information could also be used by Facebook and its other products to make suggestions for you, personalise features and content, help you complete purchases and transactions, and show relevant offers and ads across the Facebook Company Products

The Facebook products include Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Portal-branded devices, Oculus Products, Facebook Shops, Spark AR Studio, Audience Network, NPE Team apps and any other features, apps, technologies, software, products or services offered by Facebook Inc.

What about WhatsApp user’s messages?

WhatsApp has restated that all messages are end-to-end encrypted. This means that neither WhatsApp, nor any third parties will access or read your messages they are kept safe in your own device’s memory and will be accessible through your devices WhatsApp itself cannot even access your personal messages stored on your device.

“Nothing you share on WhatsApp, including your messages, photos, and account information, will be shared onto Facebook or any of our other family of apps for others to see, and nothing you post on those apps will be shared on WhatsApp for others to see,” WhatsApp says.

WhatsApp doesn’t store your messages once they’ve been delivered. Messages are stored on the user’s device and not on WhatsApp’s servers. Once messages are delivered, they are deleted from its servers.

In the course of delivering a message, WhatsApp’s servers store undelivered messages in encrypted form for up to 30 days and if a message is still undelivered after 30 days, WhatsApp claims to delete it.

“When a user forwards media within a message, we store that media temporarily in encrypted form on our servers to aid in more efficient delivery of additional forwards,” WhatsApp adds.

What you can do now?

For those users who have already accepted the new terms and conditions, but do not want WhatsApp to share data with Facebook, or other platforms, they will have an additional 30 days to delete their account.

To stay using WhatsApp, you must agree to the new terms and conditions of WhatsApp. If you do not want to, WhatsApp suggests deleting your account permanently.

Delete your WhatsApp account?

At first, users should make sure that they not only uninstall WhatsApp, but should also delete their account from WhatsApp. This can be done by going to settings to Account and selecting ‘Delete my account’.

“Please remember that when you delete your account, it does not affect the information other users have relating to you, such as their copy of the messages you sent them,” WhatsApp’s privacy policy adds.

WhatsApp says that when you remove your WhatsApp account, your undelivered messages will be deleted from its servers along with all of your information, it no longer needs to operate and provide its services.