To top it off, Musk’s tweet suggested that people download Signal Messenger instead. It didn’t take long for people to submit the reaction and Signal Messenger noted a sudden surge in app downloads so much that it asked for some time to get prepared.
When Facebook acquired WhatsApp, the latter was an ad-free chat platform with millions of loyal users, and Facebook was already under thin eyes for compromising with user data. Perhaps, this is why the acquisition was considered a social platform’s initiative to have more user data.
WhatsApp’s parent company had the right to mold and transform its new possession to generate maximum revenue and earn back its $16 billion investment under all circumstances. The only way it knew was collecting and selling data to businesses for personalized ads and custom marketing strategies.
I’m sure most of us don’t go through them while tapping the Agree button. This time I decided to scroll through an ‘eagle’s eye.’ While the 2016 and 2019 updates don’t have any significant change, 2021 took things a little differently.
This is because of stringent data protection acts in Europe. The EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) isn’t as flexible as other countries. The new draft issued in November 2020 by the European Data Protection Board restricts businesses from using consumer data for economic purposes.
When compiled with Schrems II ruling, the changes don’t allow a foreign company to collect and process European citizens’ personal information across the border. While this was initially implemented to restrict Chinese apps like TikTok and others, Facebook, with its new upgrade, fell in the same red circle.
User privacy is one of the major concerns in today’s web world. Besides chats and files, users share their numerous other personal information, and they need to stay assured of this not getting misused. WhatsApp’s revised policy worked like a blow to prevailing security threat flames and Facebook’s murky past selling user data. And this isn’t my statement, ’n’ number of times this has come out in public.
Hence, to ensure not losing people’s trust and loyalty, it utilized different platforms to win-back the confidence and made itself evident.
An example of this is a tweet made from an official WhatsApp account.
Uploading a WhatsApp status
To get itself out of the controversy, WhatsApp also updated its status, perhaps, for the first time. Here are the screenshots.
As can be seen, the aim is to make people acquainted with the new policy and not worry about their online data security.
Releasing a blog post
Besides a Twitter post and WhatsApp status, the company also released a blog post on its official portal, ‘Give More Time For Our Recent Update.’ The blog post primarily shared its vision with the revised policy. It mentioned that the update includes new ways to interact with businesses.
Running Google Text Ads
WhatsApp left no stone unturned in efforts to keep its stance and ensure it reaches people far and wide. And the below screenshot of its ad on Google bears testimony to it.
Facebook’s interest in user data to generate revenue is unquestionable. However, this time it seems to have got itself in the middle of wet sand — especially soon after its fight with Apple over privacy features in iOS 14.
This backlash’s primary reason is Facebook’s history and how ad-free chat app transformed over the years with features like WhatsApp Business and online payment using UPI. There isn’t any doubt the three-month delay will give the team sufficient time to clear its part.
For now, the team said, “No one will lose their WhatsApp account upon not accepting the revised policy. The asked time is to educate people about the changes we are planning, and we’ll wait for them to decide at their own pace eventually.”
It’s safe to say the policy will remain; only the efforts to convince you will increase. Let’s see if this is the dusk for a ‘once ad-free and most loved chat platform’ or dawn to an all-new world for Facebook.
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