WhatsApp issues full-page ads in newspapers amid calls for boycotting the chat app

The clarification of the WhatsApp on its privacy policy was published across the newspapers this morning in full page advertisements with the headline “WhatsApp respects and protects your privacy”.

The Facebook-owned instant messaging platform also said, “respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA”. It also listed out what had changed and what hadn’t.

“WhatsApp cannot see your private messages or hear your calls and neither can Facebook: every private message, photo, video, voice message and document you send your friends, family and co-workers in one-on-one or group chats is protected by end-to-end encryption. It stays between you,” the ad says.

“WhatsApp cannot see your shared location and neither can Facebook.”

Addressing “group privacy” concerns, WhatsApp says: “WhatsApp groups remain private; we use group membership to deliver messages and to protect our service from spam and abuse.

We don’t share this data with Facebook for ads purposes. Again, these private chats are end-to-end encrypted so we can’t see their content.”

It also stressed that WhatsApp does not share contacts with Facebook or any other application.

According to the ad, what has changed is this: “We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Instead, this update incudes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data.”

Check out some reactions:

Screenshots of the ads have created a buzz on social media, where users have commented on the irony of WhatsApp putting newspaper ads. “Whatsapp a digital platform needs to clarify over its privacy rules through print medium!” – read one post.


WhatsApp in damage control mode

This is the third clarification coming out from WhatsApp in the form of newspaper ads. The instant messaging application had on Tuesday issued second clarification amid the controversy over the reports of the users of instant messaging platform claiming that their private messages have been made public on search engines.

According to WhatsApp, the change to its recently revised policy “does not affect privacy of messages with friends or family”. “Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp”.

WhatsApp also shared a list of information “NOT shared with Facebook“. As first attempt of clarification, WhatsApp head Will Cathcart had on Monday cleared the air on Twitter on the same.

Privacy concerns

WhatsApp’s new terms of service detail how the chat application will use the data of its users and share it with Facebook. 

This update raises privacy concerns for WhatsApp users, as it will allow the messaging app to share data such as IP address, browser details, location, phone number, signal strength, phone battery level, etc with its parent company Facebook as well as its subsidiaries.

Soon after WhatsApp rolled out its new privacy policy terms, social media went abuzz with many speculations about the data that would be shared and compromised online.