Niamh Sweeney, WhatsApp’s director of public policy for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, said that the new terms of service might relate to the ongoing exodus. Speaking to the UK Home Affairs Committee, the update only intended to do two things. First to enable a new set of features on business messaging. The other is to clarify its existing policies. Sweeney reiterated that the company did not make any changes to their data sharing policy with Facebook anywhere in the world.
“WhatsApp must receive or collect some information to operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services, including when you install, access, or use our Services,” the updated policy reads.
Delay in Implementation
When WhatsApp lost millions of users almost overnight, the company delayed the implementation of the new terms. In the meantime, they are using the delay to run a damage control program to further explain the changes.
Zuckerberg’s Wants Interoperability
Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook is working on making Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp into a connected interoperable system. As part of the efforts, Facebook merged Instagram and Messenger chats. Meanwhile, Messenger rooms integrated Messenger rooms with WhatsApp online.
“There’s more work to happen here. We, of course, want to bring in WhatsApp to that interoperability as well. There are more features we want to add even to the Messenger, Instagram interoperability,” Zuckerberg shared with analysts during a recent earnings call. In its updated policy, WhatsApp said that if users utilize WhatsApp with third-party services or Facebook Company Products, they may get information from these users.
Facebook Company Products
WhatsApp also confirmed that as a member of the Facebook Companies, it can suggest personalizing features and content. As such it will help “complete purchases and transactions, and show relevant offers and ads across the Facebook Company Products.” WhatsApp also “provides integrations which enable you to connect your WhatsApp experiences with other Facebook Company Products.” “For example, allowing you to connect your Facebook Pay account to pay for things on WhatsApp or enabling you to chat with your friends on other Facebook Company Products, such as Portal, by connecting your WhatsApp account,” the new policy read.
Loss of Users
Data tracked by the analytics firm App Annie how WhatsApp lost millions of users. From the eighth most downloaded app in the UK on January 1, it now stands at 23rd by January 12. Signal gained 7.5 million users worldwide, while Telegram gained 25 million. Signal zoomed to the top of the UK’s app downloads by January 9. By contrast, it was outside the top 1,000 apps three days ago.
Do you use WhatsApp or any other messaging app? Will you use them despite the alleged new policies? Let us know what you think of messaging apps and their terms of service policies. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.