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Post-Backlash, WhatsApp Spells Out Privacy Policy Updates
Quote:WhatsApp is making explicit clarifications around its updated privacy policy, after reports ran amok about the messaging app mandating all-encompassing data-sharing with parent company Facebook.
The app’s new privacy policy and terms of service, which will go into effect Feb. 8, says that WhatsApp will share certain data with Facebook, along with other Facebook products. These updates, announced last week, sparked widespread ire from users, who feared WhatsApp would mandate all data — including private user data — to be shared with Facebook – and caused a mass exodus from the app onto competing apps, including Telegram and Signal.
This week, WhatsApp in a new privacy policy FAQ posted to its website aimed to dispel the myth that all data – across the board – would be shared with Facebook. The updated privacy policies, it argued, are instead related to the data collection of WhatsApp users who message businesses on the platform. According to WhatsApp, the policy update changes began rolling out in December.
“As we announced in October, WhatsApp wants to make it easier for people to both make a purchase and get help from a business directly on WhatsApp,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told Threatpost. “While most people use WhatsApp to chat with friends and family, increasingly people are reaching out to businesses as well. To further increase transparency, we updated the privacy policy to describe that going forward businesses can choose to receive secure hosting services from our parent company Facebook to help manage their communications with their customers on WhatsApp. Though of course, it remains up to the user whether or not they want to message with a business on WhatsApp.”
However, WhatsApp stressed that neither WhatsApp – nor Facebook – can see users’ private messages or hear their calls. Similarly, WhatsApp (and Facebook) doesn’t keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling.

WhatsApp also said in its privacy policy FAQ that it can’t see shared location of users; however, in a more detailed look at its privacy policy (under “Location Information”), the company says: “We collect and use precise location information from your device with your permission when you choose to use location-related features, like when you decide to share your location with your contacts or view locations nearby or locations others have shared with you.”
When asked for clarification by Threatpost, WhatsApp said in its privacy policy that the company asks for user permission to utilize their precise location – but it is important to point out that precise location information is end-to-end encrypted, so the company does not have access to it.

Read more: https://threatpost.com/post-backlash-wha...es/162996/
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