Whatsapp back-pedals, but does not relent on new privacy concerns

18th January 2021
Whatsapp  back-pedals,  but does not relent on new privacy concerns
Image: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

January 18 2021:  Social media messaging app Whatsapp,  made a small tactical retreat from its stated intention to close all accounts  by February 8, whose owners did not agree to the new  data sharing regime that the company has put in place.
WhatsApp  had advised that if you used any of Whatsapp’s  business extensions, it would henceforth share your data with other Facebook companies and this data will be used by them to design their products and improve targeting.
It has now defered the change  to May 15
In a blog post on January 15, WhatsApp wrote:
“We've heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update. There's been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts.WhatsApp was built on a simple idea: what you share with your friends and family stays between you. This means we will always protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption, so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see these private messages. It's why we don't keep logs of who everyone's messaging or calling. We also can't see your shared location and we don't share your contacts with Facebook.”
“With these updates, none of that is changing. Instead, the update includes new options people will have to message a business on WhatsApp, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data. While not everyone shops with a business on WhatsApp today, we think that more people will choose to do so in the future and it's important people are aware of these services. This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook.”
“We're now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We're also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We'll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15.”
The backlash against WhatsApp's notice about users having to accept a new privacy policy has led to a sharp increase in downloads of its rivals, Signal and Telegram. Mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower said  Signal saw 17.8 million app downloads on Apple and Google during the week of January 5 to January 12, a 61-fold increase from just 285,000 downloads the previous week.
Telegram,  saw 15.7 million downloads in the January 5 to January 12 period, roughly twice the 7.6 million downloads it saw the previous week. WhatsApp, meanwhile, saw downloads shrink to 10.6 million, down from 12.7 million the week before.
 Both signal and Telegram are  owned by foreign entities: Telegram, the cloud-based instant messaging platform, was created by two Russian brothers — Nikolai and Pavel Durov — who created Russia’s largest social network, Vkontakte. Signal, the US-based encrypted messaging app, was founded by Moxie Marlinespike and Brian Acton in 2017. and funded by non-profit organisation Signal Foundation.
IndiaTechOnline has reported that an Indian player Zoho has soft launched its own messaging tool Arattai  and  that it was fast gaining  followers