With increasing backlash over its new policy update and the company losing users to rival messaging apps, WhatsApp on Saturday said it will no longer require users to accept updated terms of service by February 8, and is delaying the privacy changes by three months.
“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,” the company said in a statement.
“We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15,” WhatsApp said.
The company stressed again that whatever users share with friends and family stays between them, and was protected by end-to-end encryption and the privacy update does not change that.
“Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see these private messages. It’s why we don’t keep logs of who everyone’s messaging or calling. We also can’t see your shared location and we don’t share your contacts with Facebook,” it added.
The update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook and is only meant for business messaging, the company stated again, in its third clarification.
Signal saw over 9000% increase in downloads from the period Jan 1 to 10. Installs of Telegram, which already has a substantial base in India, grew by 15% and WhatsApp’s downloads fell by 35%.