WhatsApp's new privacy policy, you should aware now

Tech News, 30 Aug 2016, 12:26pm GMT


Many users may have begun getting an alert telling them about the privacy policy and asking them to hit on Agree. There is a checkbox that you need to uncheck if you don't want Facebook to use your account information to improve its ad and product experience for users. And, there have a few who have mindlessly hit on agree without even knowing what it says. And, needless to say, there will be millions who will do so. After all, who really bothers reading about the changes, terms, conditions and so on.  Interestingly, if you click on check and hit on agree you can still go to settings and uncheck the box. As aforesaid, you have 30 days to do so.


Facebook has a history of changing its policies to clearly put the company's needs ahead of its users' and has faced user ire each time. Looks like, it hasn’t taken any lessons from its most recent misleading India campaign either.


At the time Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014 for nearly $ 19 billion, co-founder Jan Koum insisted WhatsApp would remain true to its mission, which was to respect user privacy, and not collect user data.


"We don't know your birthday. We don't know your home address. We don't know where you work. We don’t know your likes, what you search for on the Internet or collect your GPS location. None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that... It has the effect of scaring people into thinking we're suddenly collecting all kinds of new data... our future partnership with Facebook will not compromise the vision that brought us to this point," - Koum wrote.


But the new privacy policy states plainly that there will be data-sharing with Facebook. WhatsApp says no messages or photos will be shared with Facebook, but they will coordinate more with Facebook and its group of companies.



No ads on WhatsApp for now, but services like banks, e-commerce websites, airline services are coming to WhatsApp and this was indicated earlier as well. WhatsApp says it will start testing these services soon, and the text messages you get from your bank or about your flight information might soon come on WhatsApp, as it is cheaper that way. The new privacy policy says, "We will allow you and third parties, like businesses, to communicate with each other using WhatsApp, such as through order, transaction, and appointment information, delivery and shipping notifications, product and service updates, and marketing. For example, you may receive flight status information for upcoming travel, a receipt for something you purchased, or a notification when a delivery will be made. Messages you may receive containing marketing could include an offer for something that might interest you." The last bit is interesting because WhatsApp says it won't be serving ads to users, but don't be surprised if marketing offers turn up from these services on the app. For WhatsApp, services are a way of generating revenue without resorting to outright ads. The world's biggest message app wants to be indispensable to users by integrating services.


For the first time, WhatsApp is also looking at copyrighted content, and now wants to help people, organisations "protect their intellectual property rights". It is not clear how this will apply to, say, video clips or songs people might share on the app, because the app is technically end-to-end encrypted, and says it doesn't read a user's messages.