WhatsApp paused the initial rollout after a backlash that resulted in people flocking to competing apps.
“In the coming weeks, we will display a banner on WhatsApp with more information so people can read at their own pace,” wrote WhatsApp in a blog post. “We’ve also included more information to try to address the concerns we’re hearing. Eventually, we will start to remind people to review and accept these updates to continue using WhatsApp. “
But the fact that WhatsApp generated changes in users without warning, and the general distrust on Facebook, turned out to be a perfect recipe for widespread “misinformation” and “confusion”. Many users interpreted the update as WhatsApp forcing users to share more data with Facebook without the possibility of cancellation. (Again, as The Times noted in January, the reality is that Facebook already had the ability to collect “a lot of information about what people do on WhatsApp”.)
It is not clear whether the new message will be sufficient to repair the damage that has already been done. The rush has resulted in a surge in interest in alternative messaging apps like Signal and Telegram. In its blog post on Thursday, WhatsApp addressed renewed interest in competing services, saying that “we understand that some people can check other apps”. But the company also hinted that these services may be less “reliable and secure” than WhatsApp.
“Other apps say they are better because they know even less information than WhatsApp,” said the company. “We believe that people are looking for apps that are reliable and secure, even if it requires WhatsApp to have some limited data.”