WhatsApp Will Try Again to Convince You to Agree to Its New Privacy Policy

This time, WhatsApp will add a banner inside its app to explain that its new privacy policy will have no impact on private chats with friends and family.
WhatsApp Will Try Again to Convince You to Agree to Its New Privacy Policy
Image credit: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Getty Images via PC Mag

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This story originally appeared on PCMag

WhatsApp is preparing to make another go at convincing users to agree to its updated privacy policy, after the first attempt ended up scaring people away. 

The Facebook-owned app will add a banner inside WhatsApp in the next two weeks, which will emphasize that WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption will remain in place for your chats with friends and family. Hence, the privacy of your personal conversations won’t change at all, according to Will Cathcart, the head of WhatsApp. 

Related: How to Prevent Your WhatsApp Account From Being Stolen

“The first thing, which is the most important to know, is that WhatsApp cannot read your personal messages, and we cannot hear your personal calls,” he said in a video on Thursday. 

The app’s last attempt to convince users to accept an updated privacy policy went horribly wrong. The wording WhatsApp used to convey the changes implied users had no choice but to share their data with its parent company Facebook or else their account would be shut down. 

Not helping the matter was Facebook’s record on mishandling people’s personal data. As a result, some users flocked to rival messaging apps, such as Signal and Telegram. The controversy was so bad WhatsApp hit the brakes on enacting the privacy policy, which was originally supposed to go into effect on Feb. 8. 

This time around, WhatsApp will try to better explain why its privacy policy means no changes to users' personal chats. That said, the policy can empower Facebook to manage the chats you have with a business on WhatsApp. The social network hopes to monetize this access by helping businesses process the chats they have with customers and potentially gain advertising insights from them. 

That arguably creates a hole in the system’s end-to-end encryption. But WhatsApp points out your chats with a business, such as a retailer or airline company, isn’t exactly private anyways. “Whether you communicate with a business by phone, email, or WhatsApp, it can see what you’re saying and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook,” the company explains in an FAQ about the updated privacy policy. 

At the same time, users can choose to never communicate with a business on the app. “You are in control. It’s up to you whether or not you share your number with a business and you can block a business at any time,” the FAQ adds. 

Nevertheless, the controversy centers on the lack of trust surrounding Facebook and perhaps tech companies in general. So reassurances from WhatsApp may not be enough to convince some users. 

WhatsApp didn’t give a deadline for when users will need to agree to the updated privacy policy. But in a blog post on Thursday, the messaging app said: “Eventually, we’ll start reminding people to review and accept these updates to keep using WhatsApp.”

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