WhatsApp tries again to explain what data it shares with Facebook and why

WhatsApp will soon display a banner in your smartphone app explaining when it will share your data with Facebook.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

WhatsApp is moving ahead with its controversial change to its privacy terms and it will soon push a banner to the app that it hopes will help explain that the change doesn't mean you need to leave the service. 

WhatsApp last month delayed enforcing its new privacy terms after giving its two billion users the 'choice' to accept its new privacy terms by February 8, or essentially, stop using the app. 

The new date for users to accept the terms is May 15 and, ahead of that date, WhatsApp has posted a new blog attempting to explain what the changes mean for users. 

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WhatsApp said it had deferred the policy change to "clear up the misinformation", but not before tens of millions of WhatsApp users started exploring alternatives, such as Signal and Telegram, the latter of which recently released a feature to bring WhatsApp messages across to its platform

Part of WhatsApp's effort to clear up "confusion" is an in-app banner that explains the changes and further updates an FAQ page about the changes

"In the coming weeks, we'll display a banner in WhatsApp providing more information that people can read at their own pace," WhatsApp said in a new blogpost

Per TechCrunch, the banner will have an option to click "to review", which provides further explanation of the changes and details about how WhatsApp works with Facebook.   

WhatsApp says it has updated the FAQ page to "try to address concerns we're hearing."

"Eventually, we'll start reminding people to review and accept these updates to keep using WhatsApp," it notes in the blogpost. 

The privacy changes addressed the situation where a WhatsApp user communicates with a business.

While WhatsApp won't share a user's contacts or chats with Facebook, the Facebook-owned messaging app will share a user's profile data with Facebook after the user communicates with a business on WhatsApp. 

That communication could happen in a number of ways and Facebook is opening more opportunities for that conversation between user and businesses. For example, as part of Facebook's commerce plans with Shops, Facebook allows business to promote their goods in WhatsApp. If users interact with the offer on WhatsApp, their data is shared with Facebook and its advertiser. That communication could also influence what ads the same user sees on Facebook. 

WhatsApp also took a shot at rivals in its blogpost. 

"We've seen some of our competitors try to get away with claiming they can't see people's messages – if an app doesn't offer end-to-end encryption by default that means they can read your messages," writes WhatsApp.  

"Other apps say they're better because they know even less information than WhatsApp. We believe people are looking for apps to be both reliable and safe, even if that requires WhatsApp having some limited data."

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