In a recent blog post, WhatsApp has aimed to clear up any misunderstanding behind what the new update really means for users. To begin with, WhatsApp points out that this new update will not in any way affect messages sent from users to family and friends but however will include messages that are sent to a from a business.
WhatsApp as a personal messaging platform
For personal use, WhatsApp reinforced its value for privacy by stating that:
- Private messages or calls can not be seen or heard
- Logs are not kept of who everyone is messaging or calling
- Your shared location can not be seen by WhatsApp or Facebook
- Your contacts will not be shared with Facebook
- Groups will remain private
- You can set your messages to disappear and finally,
- You can download your own data to see what information they have on your account
However, as WhatsApp is used on a daily basis as a way for businesses to stay connected to their customers, privacy policies differ for WhatsApp business users. Particularly if those businesses are making use of certain features the platform has to offer.
To ease the minds of users who are using the platform to connect with businesses around the globe and are concerned for their privacy as the new update is introduced, WhatsApp has said they will remain transparent when it comes to users communicating with businesses that use any features where data sharing may be involved.
Facebook hosting service: Businesses are granted the option to use secure hosting services via Facebook to help manage their communication. However, as WhatsApp has said no matter which platform you choose to interact with a business on they are able to see what is being said and further able to use that information for marketing purposes, which also may include advertising on Facebook.
New commerce features: As a huge shift takes place to online purchasing, new features have allowed you to shop directly within WhatsApp, where businesses can display their goods to potential customers. If you as a consumer decide to make use of this feature WhatsApp has stated that any shopping activity can be used to personalize your shopping experience and additionally the advertisements you see on Facebook and Instagram.
Discovering a business: Lastly, Ads on Facebook that prompt you to engage with a business via the messaging platform WhatsApp may also be analysed to see how consumers engage with these ads and from there additional personalization will be made to the ads you see on Facebook.
Although many have been put off by the idea of Whatsapp changing its privacy policies turning to alternative messaging platforms, it appears as though for now all personal messages sent via the platform will remain private. For businesses and customers who make use of the platform, data can be used but according to WhatsApp as only a means to elevate and improve users’ shopping experience.