WhatsApp responds to concerns over privacy policy update – CNET

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Angela Lang/CNET

WhatsApp this week published an FAQ clarifying the terms of its updated privacy policy and responding to concerns that it shares personal information with parent company Facebook. WhatsApp noted the update doesn’t affect the privacy of messages with friends and family, and instead relates to messaging businesses through the platform. The company also said the update “provides further transparency about how we collect and use data.”

The platform emphasized neither it or Facebook can see users’ private messages or hear their calls. WhatsApp also doesn’t keep logs of who people message or call, can’t see your shared location (neither can Facebook), doesn’t share users’ contacts with Facebook and keeps WhatsApp groups private, according to the FAQ. 

The publication of the FAQ follows calls from privacy advocates, concerned users and, notably, Elon Musk, to ditch the Facebook-owned messaging app and instead opt for encrypted messaging apps like Signal. WhatsApp says personal messages are also protected by end-to-end encryption, but has for years openly collected certain user data to share with Facebook.

Under WhatsApp’s privacy policy, businesses have the option to use “secure hosting services from Facebook to manage WhatsApp chats with their customers, answer questions, and send helpful information like purchase receipts.” If you communicate with a businesses, it can see what you’re saying and then use that information for marketing, which could include advertising on Facebook. WhatsApp says it clearly labels conversations with businesses that use Facebook’s hosting services. 

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