Amid outcry, skepticism, and condemnation, the social media giant WhatsApp has rolled back a planned update of privacy, notifying its users that the planned update, scheduled to take effect on February 8, will be deferred until May 15 to allow users to review the update.
The Facebook-owned encrypted messaging app announced in January that it has decided to delay the new privacy update by three months due to what it has described as “confusion and misinformation.”
Users have been concerned that the update might allow WhatsApp access to users’ private conversations and other personal data. Some users were also apprehensive that the new policies would allow Facebook to spy on them.
Feeling the heat, WhatsApp executives have moved quickly to reassure the users that its changes are minor, that it cannot read users’ messages and that its services are more secure than those of some competitors.
“WhatsApp helped bring end-to-end encryption to people across the world, and we are committed to defending this security technology now and in the future. With these updates, none of that is changing.” WhatsApp said in a company blog post.
According to America’s New York Times, some limited information from WhatsApp is shared with Facebook, WhatsApp’s parent company. But the changes to WhatsApp’s terms of service to enable occurred in 2016, and the terms have not been substantially updated since.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for a reported $16 billion.