Facebook compromises on WhatsApp Privacy Policy: Won’t force users to accept if they use the platform strictly for personal communication

WhatsApp Privacy Policy Facebook
Talking, Calling, and Chatting on WhatsApp for personal reasons only. Pic credit: Marina Stroganova/Flickr

After running into a massive backlash over the seemingly mandatory WhatsApp Privacy Policy, Facebook has backpaddled. The social media giant has compromised, and won’t ask WhatsApp users to accept the new policy if they use the platform strictly for personal communication.

Facebook has attempted to find a middle ground with the newly revised WhatsApp Privacy Policy. The compromise could benefit the company as well as placate the angry mob as well as governments.

Facebook played with fire with the new WhatsApp Privacy Policy, and got burnt?

WhatsApp did not have a great run this year. The platform’s owner, Facebook, had attempted to force WhatsApp users to accept a Privacy Policy Update.

The social media giant essentially threatened WhatsApp users into accepting the new policy. Failure to accept the new terms would practically cripple the platform.

Facebook set a deadline by which WhatsApp users had to accept the new Privacy Policy. Moreover, the company even announced a structured plan that would systematically disable functions of the platform for users who held out.

WhatsApp was also reportedly started splashing a pop-up to some users who had not accepted the Terms of Service. The annoying pop-up appeared while making audio and video calls.

Needless to mention, such strongarm methods did not sit well with WhatsApp users. The platform started witnessing a mass exodus of users to competing or rival platforms such as Telegram, and Signal.

Presumably realizing the damage that it was causing, Facebook started damage control. The social media giant started sharing Infographics in the status tab of WhatsApp.

Facebook repeatedly mentioned it will never share personally identifiable information. However, it was obvious that WhatsApp could start sharing user data, albeit anonymized, with its parent company.

WhatsApp won’t force users to accept its Privacy Policy, but there are certain conditions:

Moving ahead, Whatsapp will no longer make it compulsory for users to accept its policies to use the app. The relaxed usage policy could arrive in a future update.

WhatsApp features tracker that executes the parameters laid out in WhatsApp’s new terms of service could be optional in a future version. The new inclusion is reportedly present in a beta build of the app.

WhatsApp Privacy Policy Update Facebook
WhatsApp compromised Privacy Policy deployment strategy. Pic credit: WABetaInfo

As per the new version, not available to the general public yet, users can continue to use WhatsApp without accepting its new policies. There is, however, a condition that users must always abide by.

WhatsApp users who do not wish to accept the new Privacy Policy should use the platform strictly for personal communication. In other words, only those users who would want to interact with business accounts must review and accept the new terms.

The new version mentions: To chat with businesses, review and accept the WhatsApp update. It offers two options to the users — ‘Not Now’ and ‘Review’.  The new experimental version of WhatsApp could transition in the upcoming stable build of WhatsApp for Android as well as iOS.

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