WhatsApp tries to reassure users and keep them from moving to other platforms through all available means

WhatsApp tries to reassure users and keep them from moving to other platforms through all available means

WhatsApp logo

Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp which has been widely criticized for its new privacy policy that basically doesn’t give users any option other than to accept it seems to be hurting the user base of the company. Since January 4th, users around the world were alarmed when WhatsApp said that it reserved the right to share some of the user’s data such as location and phone number, with Facebook and its other units Instagram and Messenger.

Despite assuring users that it doesn’t have access to their messages, calls, or call logs, the privacy policy update triggered a storm and people started migrating to alternatives like Telegram and Signal which are more private and user-centric platforms. According to Sensor Tower, WhatsApp saw a 35 per cent decrease in downloads in India, from 2 million between January 1 and 5 to 1.3 million between January 6 and 10.

  • whatsapp status collage
  • WhatsApp Newspaper Ad

The California based company is on damage control mode and trying its best to keep users from switching. In its biggest market, India, WhatsApp ran full front-page advertisements with clarification on their new policy in almost every newspaper, it also decided to postpone the last date till when users have to accept the policy if they don’t want their account to be deleted.

Now looks like doing this much was also not sufficient, the company in its latest move has used the status update feature where it added a series of pictures telling that they care about user’s privacy. The status is showing to all users and WhatsApp is not giving any option to mute or hide it.

Similar to other clarifications that the company gave, here also WhatsApp is not telling it’s users about the amount of metadata it collects — which is significantly higher compared to other messaging services.

WhatsApp MetaData
Image: Forbes

The reaction to WhatsApp’s new policy has seen millions of new users sign up for Telegram and Signal, Telegram got approximately 25 million new users and Signal became the number one app in its category in many countries. Seeing this traction, it wouldn’t be surprising to see WhatsApp spending more on marketing and promotions to gain the trust of users and prevent them from migrating. But apart from addressing the rumours and issuing clarifications about the data, it doesn’t collect, WhatsApp is not willing to explain what data it does collect or review the policy update that is in question.

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