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WhatsApp will re-introduce controversial new privacy policy

WhatsApp paused the initial rollout after a backlash that resulted in people flocking to competing apps.

WhatsApp plans to reintroduce the updated privacy policy that has sparked a massive backlash against Facebook’s proprietary messaging app. The company said it will notify users of the new privacy policy “in the coming weeks” and will provide more information about the changes before requiring users to agree to the new terms.

“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. “

The privacy policy is the same as the company introduced in January, a launch that was later postponed amid growing reaction. A WhatsApp spokesman confirmed that users will have to agree to the new terms by May 15, when the new policy will take effect.

The updated privacy policy addresses Facebook’s recent entry into commerce. For WhatsApp, this meant an expansion of the app’s business messaging tools and the addition of new in-app purchase features. The new terms more explicitly address the role that Facebook plays in enabling these interactions. As The New York Times pointed out last month, this can result in interactions with companies on WhatsApp, influencing the ads you see on Facebook.

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.”

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