Facebook Delays WhatsApp Changes Over Backlash

(PatriotHeadline)- Facebook has quickly backtracked on announced changes to WhatsApp after receiving substantial backlash.

The company, which owns WhatsApp, said it would delay implementing a new privacy policy. Many users were worried that their messages and data would be shared with Facebook.

Over the weekend, WhatsApp published a blog post that said:

“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.”

Between January 5 and January 12, downloads of WhatsApp dropped by more than 2 million, according to data from Sensor Tower. Total downloads for that week reached 10.6 million. In that same time period, downloads of Telegram jumped to 15.7 million, while downloads of Signal reached 17.8 million.

When WhatsApp’s 2 billion users opened the program recently, they were greeted by a pop-up message asking them to accept new Terms of Service for the company’s privacy policy. They would need to do so before February 8, the message warned, otherwise, they would lose access to WhatsApp.

All WhatsApp users who don’t live in Europe or the U.K. are going to be subject to a data-sharing agreement between WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook. Private user details that include IP address, browser information and phone number could be shared with Facebook as a result.

Not surprisingly, many users decided that was too much for them, so they deleted their accounts quickly and sought alternatives. Facebook panicked as a result. The company tried to save face, taking out full-page advertisements in newspapers in India that asked users not to leave.

WhatsApp published a message in almost 10 newspapers in the country that stated:

“WhatsApp respects and protects your privacy. WhatsApp cannot see your private messages or hear your calls, and neither can Facebook: Every private message, photo, video, voice message and document you send to your friends, family and co-workers in one-on-one or group chats is protected by end-to-end encryption. It stays between you.”

WhatsApp has insisted all along that they weren’t going to be sharing message data with Facebook. In fact, they claim they can’t even read users’ messages because they’re encrypted.

Still, users had serious concerns, particularly after Facebook announced changes to its system last year. The tech giant announced that businesses that use WhatsApp would have the ability to manage and store chats with customers using Facebook’s “secure hosting infrastructure.”

This meant that a business could see the contents of messages it sent and received to and from users. They also were given the ability to use all of that information and data for marketing purposes, including running advertising on Facebook.

It’s hard to blame users, then, for not trusting WhatsApp and taking them at their word. Maybe when the app was an independent company, they could be trusted. But many users are extremely skeptical of WhatsApp now that Facebook has complete control over it. They haven’t proven trustworthy in the past.