WhatsApp is now using Status messages to promise it's not spying on you

WhatsApp tries to reassure users in the wake of privacy debacle

WhatsApp
(Image credit: Getty)

Embattled messaging app, WhatsApp, is now using status messages in a bid to ease its users’ privacy concerns.

Last week, the in-app messages spontaneously appeared on certain devices in the US and UK, with users alleging that they received the message as status updates – the equivalent of the ‘stories’ and 'fleets' feature that appears on other platforms, including Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. 

The message reads: “One thing that isn’t new is our commitment to your privacy,” and other status notifications reminding users that, “WhatsApp can’t read or listen to your personal conversations as they’re end-to-end encrypted.” It's all looking very precarious for WhatsApp at the moment, scrutinized for every move, and compelled to explain its every action.

As reported by The Verge, a WhatsApp representative emailed the publication, saying: “There’s been a lot of misinformation and confusion around our recent update and we want to help everyone understand the facts behind how WhatsApp protects people’s privacy and security.” Many are so concerned that they've decamped to different apps: T3's best WhatsApp alternatives is a good place to start if you're looking for another encrypted platform. 

The WhatsApp spokesperson adds: “Going forward, we’re going to provide updates to people in the Status tab so people hear from WhatsApp directly. Our first update reaffirms that WhatsApp cannot see your personal messages, and neither can Facebook because they are protected by end-to-end encryption.”

WhatsApp has recently rolled out several placatory updates, seeking to calm users who have vented frustrations over its data-sharing practices. T3 has covered the story around changes to its privacy policy at length, which initially caused some confusion, and led to a flurry of misinformation floating on the internet. 

Despite WhatsApp's best efforts to reassure users that it will continue to protect their privacy, it insists on enforcing the new privacy policy changes that started all of this, leading to millions of users ditching the messaging app in favor of Signal. Rival app Telegram has also seen a huge boost in users, and has made it even easier for you to move your WhatsApp chats to Telegram.

In spite of the privacy ruckus, WhatsApp is likely to remain a major player in communications: due to its parent company, Facebook, being so prolific in so many areas. That said, it does seem that vacuous attempts to reassure WhatsApp's users won't cut it at this stage. It'll likely take more than a cheap PR exercise to win back confidence in its platform. 

Source: The Verge