- New WhatsApp Policies come into effect February 8, 2021.
- All your doubts about new WhatsApp policy cleared.
- WhatsApp will not store your messages or media files.
WhatsApp has found itself in hot water after updating its policies that list down how the platform plans to collect and share data with other Facebook companies but leaves users with little option to decide what information they want to give access too. The app was immediately subjected to criticism from all corners and several users have started turning towards alternates like Signal and Telegram.
The new WhatsApp Policy comes into effect from February 8, 2021 which leaves users with just one month to agree to the updated guidelines or else they can lose access to their WhatsApp account. This information itself can be twisted and used to create panic among WhatsApp users. Apart from this, a lot of false information is also being circulated on the internet which has led to further confusion among users.
Here are some questions that must have crossed your mind in the past few days and we try to answer them for better clarity:
Question - Should I delete WhatsApp account permanently?
Answer Absolutely not. WhatsApp has emerged as one of the most convenient tools of communication over the years. Most of your contacts and chat groups would still be active on the platform. It won't be wise to leave WhatsApp until all of them collectively decide to migrate to another platform. Even though the new policies raise few questions about how WhatsApp and Facebook plan to do manage data in future, the platform has assured that personal chats will remain encrypted.
Leaving the platform in response to the new WhatsApp policies would not be wise. But, this should not stop you from exploring other platforms.
Question Will WhatsApp be able to read my messages?
Answer No, WhatsApp will not have access to any of your messages or calls. Company CEO Will Cathcart recently took to Twitter to explain that WhatsApp chats and calls will continue to be end-to-end encrypted, and will not be visible to anyone but the user itself.
"We're in a competition on privacy with others and that's very good for the world. People should have choices in how they communicate and feel confident that no one else can see their chats. There are people who disagree with this, including some governments," he said.
Question What data will WhatsApp take from me?
Answer The new policy updates state that WhatsApp can collect your activity-related data which may include how the users use WhatsApp, their service settings, how they interact with other users, how much time they spend on the app and even the duration in which they use WhatsApp. It may also include information such as when a user registered to WhatsApp's services, the features they use like messaging, calling, Status, groups (including group name, group picture, group description), payments or business features.
Again, to underline, at no point does WhatsApp say that it will be collecting your messages, videos or audio files exchanged on the platform.
Question Will I have to give access to my location data?
Answer Yes, if you want to continue using the location sharing feature on the platform. WhatsApp has made it clear that users will have to provide access to certain data to use add-on services such as location sharing. The instant messaging platform states that users won't be able to share locations with other users in chat if they don't give access to location data.
"We collect and use precise location information from your device with your permission when you choose to use location-related features, like when you decide to share your location with your contacts or view locations nearby or locations others have shared with you," the company said.
Even if the users decide to turn of the location services, WhatsApp can still use the IP addresses or phone area codes to estimate their general location. This leaves the users with a difficult choice to make.
Question Will WhatsApp share my location data with Facebook?
Answer No, WhatsApp will not be sharing your location data with Facebook. However, the approximate location it finds out using a combination of phone area code and your IP address can be shared with Facebook companies if need be. This will not be your exact location.
Question Will WhatsApp have access to videos, images I share on platform?
Answer No, any media you share on the platform be it pictures, videos or audio files will remain end-to-end encrypted and will be accessed by WhatsApp. However, the platform is known to store the data temporarily on its servers to ensure faster delivery next time it is forwarded.
"When a user forwards media within a message, we store that media temporarily in encrypted form on our servers to aid in more efficient delivery of additional forwards," states the new policy.
Question Will WhatsApp now show ads?
Answer No, not as of now. The new policies highlight that WhatsApp will remain to be ad-free but leaves scope for their introduction some time in future. The policy states that if the platform plans to introduce ads in future, an update will be made to its terms and services.
Question Are new WhatsApp policies are a breach of privacy?
Answer Not at all. It is not like WhatsApp is spying on you without your permission. The platform is seeking access to certain data and if you are not comfortable sharing that, you are free to move to other apps. Any platform is free to ask that. It's not the question of right or wrong here but the platform being unfair to millions of users who are now dependent on the app for everyday communication and are left to choose between convenience and privacy.
The users have four weeks to explore other platforms and understand WhatsApp new policies before deciding which app they want to use for daily communication.