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WhatsApp Lost Millions of Users Due to New Terms



Mobile Smart Phone Device With Whatsapp Company App Logo on Screen and a Notebook with Whatsapp Web Application on Internet Browser-SS-Lost Millions of Users

Social messaging app WhatsApp lost millions of users recently due to changes in its term of service. Viral posts, ironically spread via WhatsApp, claimed that the app’s privacy policy gave the service the right to read individual messages and give the information to Facebook, its parent company. This led to a stampede of users heading for the uninstall button and going for competing apps like Telegram and Signal.

RELATED: Protesters Turn to Messaging App Called “Signal” That Has End-to-End Encryption Technology

Policy Changes

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.

As part of a global roll-out for its 2 billion users worldwide, current WhatsApp subscribers received an in-app notification. The app asked users to either accept the changes in its Terms of Service and privacy policy by February 8 or their accounts will be deleted. Clicking on the links discussed key changes in how the app will collect and process user information going forward. 

“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.

The company announced that they will delay the implementation of the new policy from February 8 to May 15. “We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way,” WhatsApp posted in an update. The company also took out Google ad space, using the “WhatsApp privacy policy” search keywords.

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.

Watch the Eyewitness News video reporting on WhatsApp privacy policy changes: Should you stay or go?

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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.

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  • Carol says:

    I will no instant message anyone! Censorship is not an American valve! I will use the old fashion dial a phone & LEAVE a message!

  • Margo Wendt says:

    Good for you Carol. However, I have nothing to hide. If they want to see all my messages regarding the evil liberal demoncrats & more importantly my uplifting, positive messages praising the Lord my GOD for His loving mercy, power & faithfulness, Great! They need to realize that there is an all knowing, all seeing, all powerful GOD who will judge every one of us based on HIS Holy righteousness, not based on our thoughts & desires. The time of Christ’s return is imminent as almost every prophecy has already been fulfilled. The temple is being rebuilt, His chosen people are returning to Israel in droves (despite the pandemic) & the dry barren land is lush & growing again just as the Holy Bible tells us. It’s time that the will of the people be turned to the will of GOD. II Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people which, are called by name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.” This applies to Israel & the (previously United) States of America. His people are the Jews and the redeemed (true) Christians around the world.

  • Kenneth says:

    I have used messenger maybe 3 time in total, therefore, a big WHOOP.

  • Paul says:

    I used to use FB, WhatsApp and Istegram, but no longer will fall in their pit. Instead, everyone I know is switching to Telegram.

  • Joanne says:

    I will still use messenger I have nothing to hide, if they want to waste there time reading my messages go for it

  • Dennis says:

    If you are using Facebook’s Marketplace, then Messenger is the only choice for sellers-buyers to communicate…at least initially.

  • Bill Hyatt says:

    Big Brother knocking at the door

  • Mike says:

    Face book Twitter are Chinese controlled everyone should delete their accounts on these communist platforms they are not there to help you or this country they are propaganda machines

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