News & Events, Tech

WhatsApp’s controversial privacy policy just kicked in

Is privacy even a thing anymore?

words by: Sahar Khraibani
May 20, 2021

The controversial WhatsApp privacy policy we reported on earlier in January has just kicked in, and here’s what you need to know about it.


WhatsApp’s new privacy policy

At the beginning of the year, WhatsApp updated its terms of service and privacy policies, which mostly centered on the app’s business offerings. However, the changes ignited outrage because they unintentionally highlighted WhatsApp’s long-standing policy of exchanging certain data like user details, such as phone numbers, with parent company Facebook. Rather than changing the policy that caused the uproar, WhatsApp has pushed back the deadline for users to approve it from February 8 to last weekend. You may be wondering what happens if you don’t approve the new policy? Well, WhatsApp will stop working.


What happens if you don’t accept the new policy?

In lieu of a hard cutoff, if you don’t approve the changes, the messaging app will gradually degrade until eventually it stops working. WhatsApp recently told the news that users can just stop using the app if they don’t desire to accept the new privacy policy. It seems that the only solution to this is that either you accept the new policy, or you just switch to a different messaging app. If people don’t follow the policy, WhatsApp won’t delete their accounts, but they will eventually restrict the functionality.


The messaging app provided some information on what kind of data they will be collecting, along with a FAQ page that should answer anyone’s pressing questions about the new privacy policy:


“We can’t see your personal messages or hear your calls, and neither can Facebook: Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can read your messages or hear your calls with your friends, family, and co-workers on WhatsApp. Whatever you share, it stays between you. That’s because your personal messages are protected by end-to-end encryption. We will never weaken this security and we clearly label each chat so you know our commitment. Learn more about WhatsApp security here.


We don’t keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling: While traditionally mobile carriers and operators store this information, we believe that keeping these records for two billion users would be both a privacy and security risk and we don’t do it.


We can’t see your shared location and neither can Facebook: When you share your location with someone on WhatsApp, your location is protected by end-to-end encryption, which means no one can see your location except the people you share it with.


We don’t share your contacts with Facebook: When you give us permission, we access only the phone numbers from your address book to make messaging fast and reliable, and we don’t share your contacts lists with the other apps Facebook offers.”