WhatsApp has reassured users about privacy at the Facebook-owned messaging service as people flocked to rivals Telegram and Signal following a tweak to its terms.
There was “a lot of misinformation” about an update to terms of service regarding an option to use WhatsApp to message businesses, Facebook executive Adam Mosseri, who heads Instagram, said in a tweet.
WhatsApp’s new terms sparked criticism, as users outside Europe who do not accept the new conditions before February 8 will be cut off from the messaging app.
“The policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way,” Mosseri said.
The update regards how merchants using WhatsApp to chat with customers can share data with Facebook, which could use the information for targeting ads, according to the social network.
“We can’t see your private messages or hear your calls, and neither can Facebook,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.
“We don’t keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling. We can’t see your shared location and neither can Facebook.”
Location data along with message contents is encrypted end-to-end, according to WhatsApp.
“We’re giving businesses the option to use secure hosting services from Facebook to manage WhatsApp chats with their customers, answer questions, and send helpful information like purchase receipts,” WhatsApp said in the post.
“Whether you communicate with a business by phone, email, or WhatsApp, it can see what you’re saying and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook.”
Telegram founder Pavel Durov recently confirmed the fact on his personal Telegram channel (@Durov).
According to Durov, “These new users came from across the globe – 38% from Asia, 27% from Europe, 21% from Latin America and 8% from MENA,” he said in his post.
He added that Telegram has become a “refuge” for those seeking a private and secure communications platform and assured new users that his team “takes this responsibility very seriously.”