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WhatsApp to wean users into inevitable privacy policy change

Facebook doesn’t usually give up on a fight or make controversial changes, at least until its hands are forced by law. Even though it faces investigations and lawsuits over its alleged monopolistic business practices, it is still moving forward with unpopular actions that practically put its mark on everything it owns. Oculus Quest’s new multiuser support, for example, is still linked to Facebook accounts, and WhatsApp is now resuming the journey to renew its privacy policy to favor Facebook.

WhatsApp started the year with a bang when it announced changes to its privacy policy that, in a nutshell, requires users to consent to allow Facebook to access some bits of user information. Given Facebook’s track record when it comes to privacy, users were naturally on a war footing and the service saw a massive exodus as users tried to quickly migrate to the likes of Telegram and Signal. There was no way around the change and users had to agree with it or be unable to use the service completely.

WhatsApp eventually decided to postpone the change that would take effect earlier this month. That, however, did not mean he would change his mind and his latest blog post confirms that. The changes will still take effect on May 15 and the company will use the coming weeks to subtly remind users about these changes and prepare them for the inevitable.

The popular messaging service will begin displaying banners within chats that will remind users that chats are encrypted from end to end, meaning that WhatsApp cannot hear or read messages. The banner, however, does not mention anything about the change in privacy policy surrounding Facebook and simply invites users to touch the banner to learn more. Users are likely to ignore them.

WhatsApp also took the opportunity to attack its competitors, who were quick to offer an outlet to their dissatisfied users. He notes that some of them don’t offer end-to-end encryption as they do, at least not by default, although some of them do. He also explains that he believes that users want not only a secure service, but also a reliable one, even if it means providing some data to WhatsApp and Facebook. Some WhatsApp users, however, may disagree.

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