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WhatsApp says individual chats protected as users shun platform

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Facing intense criticism over its upcoming policy on February 8 as users leave the platform for rivals Telegram and Signal, WhatsApp on Tuesday issued a clarification, saying that individual chats would not be affected by the changes.

“We want to address some rumours and be 100 per cent clear we continue to protect your private messages with end-to-end encryption,” the micro-blogging platform said in a tweet.

In a separate blog, WhatsApp head Will Cathart said that the policy update describes business communication and adds transparency.

“It does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family,” Cathart said.

WhatsApp said that it uses group membership to deliver messages and to protect the service from spam and abuse.

“We don’t share this data with Facebook for ads purposes. Again, these private chats are end-to-end encrypted so we can’t see their content,” the company stressed.

WhatsApp asserted that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook could see the messages users sent to each other, and they could not hear the conversations over calls either.

“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,” the company asserted.

In a newly-released FAQ page, the platform said that the recent update was rather related to the managing of businesses on WhatsApp.

“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”.

The company also added that it will soon allow businesses to use Facebook’s hosting services to manage their communication with users. WhatsApp has said that it will add a label to businesses who use Facebook’s hosting services.

This is the second clarification to be issued by the cross-platform messaging and voice over IP service provider since it revamped its privacy policy.

WhatsApp’s new term of service and privacy policy will go live on February 8.

To continue using the services, users will have to accept the terms and conditions. If the users do not accept the new terms of service, they will no longer be able to use the app from February 8.


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