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WhatsApp privacy policy row: Not just users, companies too are concerned

Since the new changes in the WhatsApp's privacy rules would see deeper integration of the app with Facebook, businesses want to examine the new policy carefully as they use WhatsApp frequently to transfer private data to their customers

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | January 18, 2021 | Updated 13:31 IST
WhatsApp privacy policy row: Not just users, companies too are concerned
Companies use the WhatsApp since it is the preferred channel for several users

The new WhatsApp policy has not only rendered the users worried but businesses too are concerned since they use messaging platform's application interface, or API, to reach customers and transmit sensitive confidential material.

Since the new changes in the WhatsApp's privacy rules would see deeper integration of the app with Facebook, which owns it, businesses want to examine the new policy carefully as they use WhatsApp frequently to transfer private data such as financial statements, health test results, or even personal information like hotel bookings and travel.

Two large digital platforms that use the WhatsApp Business app in India told the Times of India that they plan to bring the matter to the company's notice. Following this, they would then assess if they want to continue using the application channel for communicating with their users.

Also Read: BT Buzz: Why WhatsApp's clarification on privacy policy is misleading

Bengaluru-based e-pharmacy platform 1MG, which sends its lab test results to customers' WhatsApp accounts (if they are fine with that), is now anxious about the way its information will be treated and how it will impact its clients.

"We are glad that WhatsApp has postponed the proposed datasharing plans. We have been concerned and are evaluating its impact on the privacy of our users, given that any health-related conversation should not be used by the communication platform. As WhatsApp moves from being a communication platform to a datagathering and analysis platform, we would certainly like to engage in a deeper conversation to ensure user privacy is maintained," 1MG co-founder and CEO Prashant Tandon told the publication.

Several other big companies that convey booking and other concerned details to their customers through WhatsApp comprise travel-booking platforms Ixigo and MakeMyTrip, movie ticketing firm BookMyShow, and home services startup Urban Company.

Also Read: WhatsApp's loss is Telegram's gain; app sees 25 million new users in 3 days

These companies use the messaging platform since it is the preferred channel for several users. However, with the proposed changes, which are now deferred until mid-May, businesses are getting unnerved about their customers' data safety and are in the process of taking an informed decision.

A senior executive at a ticketing platform also told the publication, "WhatsApp is used as a convenient medium to send tickets. These messages are easy to find, to track updates on certain orders. So far, many users have used it, but now there are concerns how this will play out. People might not be comfortable using it for certain cases."

Meanwhile, WhatsApp has clarified that group chats and direct messages will remain encrypted, and that its data sharing policies will be implemented on WhatsApp and Facebook business accounts.

Also Read: WhatsApp privacy policy row: Govt examining Facebook-owned app's latest update

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