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BUSINESS NEWS NEWSMAN INVESTIGATES

WhatsApp Privacy Terms: Fear As WhatsApp Forces Users To Accept New Privacy Terms

NEWSMAN, Abuja – The announcement that WhatsApp will be unveiling new rules, forcing users to agree to them has created fear among users who rely on the messaging app to stay in touch with friends and family.

WhatsApp has long prided itself on its commitment to security and privacy, with ‘encrypted conversations’ and other important technologies integrated into the app.

Millions of users have reportedly ditched WhatsApp, with many switching to Telegram and Signal in the past few days amid fears over their privacy. Many took to social media to express their displeasure.

The Facebook-owned messaging service has received a lot of criticism after it disclosed that users must agree to share their data with the social network in order to keep using the service.

This data includes phone numbers, IP addresses, browser information, battery level, operating system, app version, mobile network, language and time zone, The Nation gathered.

However, the updated terms will allow additional sharing of information between WhatsApp and Facebook and its other applications like Instagram and Messenger such as contacts and profile data but not the ‘content of messages which remain encrypted’.

“As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, this family of companies.

 “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,” the new privacy policy states.

Those who don’t accept the revamped privacy policy by February 8 will no longer be able to use the app.

Facebook aims to monetise WhatsApp by allowing businesses to contact their clients via the platform and to sell them products directly using the service, as they already do in India.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk, world’s richest person has asked users to switch to a messaging app called ‘Signal’. He appealed to people to switch to more encrypted apps than WhatsApp and Facebook

Also, Telegram picked up nearly 2.2 million downloads, according to data analytics firm Sensor Tower.

Again, Turkey’s antitrust board launched an investigation into Facebook Inc. and its messaging service WhatsApp Inc. over new usage terms that have sparked privacy concerns.

The regulator, on Monday also said it was halting implementation of such terms. The new terms would result in “more data being collected, processed and used by Facebook.”

WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart however took to Twitter to clear the controversy on the privacy of users.

“We’re in a competition on privacy with others and that’s very good for the world. People should have choices in how they communicate and feel confident that no one else can see their chats. There are people who disagree with this, including some governments,” he said.

It’s important for us to be clear this update describes business communication and does not change WhatsApp’s data sharing practices with Facebook. It does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family wherever they are in the world.

Will Cathcart added

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