After the first attempt at WhatsApp’s Terms of Service update worldwide, WhatsApp has now launched a new effort in order to better explain its upcoming data sharing change, as well as alleviate concerns about the still-planned update.
To reiterate, back in January, WhatsApp announced that it was updating its terms to enable it to further utilize information relating to business interactions within the app. Moreover, personal conversations in the app are not impacted by the change, however, the way in which the update was initially communicated lead to a wave of blowback, anyhow, WhatsApp users particularly upset that their personal information may be made accessible to the parent company Facebook.
Regarding WhatsApp’s second update, WhatsApp went to great length to explain the change, besides reassuring users, but the damage was already done, with millions of users downloading alternative messaging apps such as Telegram and Signal. We can see that this eventually, lead to WhatsApp delaying the change.
On the other hand, WhatsApp now takes the first steps towards having another attempt, and the update, WhatsApp explains: “We previously encountered a great deal of misinformation about this update and we continue to work hard to clear up any confusion.[…] We’ve reflected on what we could have done better here. We want everyone to know our history of defending end-to-end encryption and trust we’re committed to protecting people’s privacy and security. We’re now using our Status feature to share our values and updates directly within WhatsApp. We’ll be doing much more to make our voice clear going forward.”
That means this will include new direct, detailed prompts within business chats:
Talking more about WhatsApp’s second update, there will be new in-app banners in order to provide more information about the change, while it’s also published a quick explainer in various languages:
Additionally, WhatsApp chief Will Cathcart posted this earnest video:
We are doing more to explain how WhatsApp continues to protect people’s privacy and I wanted to share our plans here first pic.twitter.com/ja6tqGZ3yi
— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) February 18, 2021
Regarding WhatsApp’s second update, looks like WhatsApp is being extremely cautious, that’s because it is.
Again, millions of users downloaded alternate messaging apps in the weeks following WhatsApp’s first announcement, on the other hand, internally, WhatsApp must have also seen a significant decline in usage, prompting its re-think.
Not only that but also, WhatsApp uses its latest announcement to criticize its competition: “During this time, we understand some people may check out other apps to see what they have to offer. We’ve seen some of our competitors try to get away with claiming they can’t see people’s messages – if an app doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default that means they can read your messages. Other apps say they’re better because they know even less information than WhatsApp. We believe people are looking for apps to be both reliable and safe, even if that requires WhatsApp having some limited data. We strive to be thoughtful on the decisions we make and we’ll continue to develop new ways of meeting these responsibilities with less information, not more.”
Of course, the backlash has freaked Team WhatsApp out. And that is a little surprising – WhatsApp is the most-used messaging app in the world, with over 2 billion monthly actives. You would think that, at such scale, it would be willing to weather the storm somehow.
Furthermore, the scope of its response underlines just how important that initial user reaction must have been.
Talking more about WhatsApp’s second update, WhatsApp’s planning to roll out its new terms of service update in May, so it’s getting in early to address all concerns ahead of time. That should leave it plenty of room to respond to lingering concerns and reassure users ahead of the actual update.