The first attempt to update its Terms of Service drew major user backlash worldwide. So, WhatsApp has launched a new version to explain its data-sharing change, and ease concerns on its upcoming update.
WhatsApp announced in January it would update its terms. The move was seen to allow the messaging service to use more information for business interactions when using its app.
The change will not affect personal conversations. But the delivery of the update led to a backfire. Concerns from WhatsApp users grew, as they were anxious of that their personal information might be shared to the platform’s parent company Facebook.
WhatsApp tried its best to explain the change. It wanted to reassure its users. But it already blew out of proportion. Millions of users jumped ship and downloaded its competitors’ apps, such as Signal and Telegram. WhatsApp delayed its change.
“We previously encountered a great deal of misinformation about this update and we continue to work hard to clear up any confusion.[…] We’ve reflected on what we could have done better here. We want everyone to know our history of defending end-to-end encryption and trust we’re committed to protecting people’s privacy and security. We’re now using our Status feature to share our values and updates directly within WhatsApp. We’ll be doing much more to make our voice clear going forward,” says WhatsApp about its second attempt.
It includes direct, full prompts in business chats.
WhatsApp will add in-app banners. It has more information about the change. And it published quick explainers in different languages.
We are doing more to explain how WhatsApp continues to protect people’s privacy and I wanted to share our plans here first pic.twitter.com/ja6tqGZ3yi
— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) February 18, 2021
Millions of users installed alternate messaging apps after WhatsApp’s first announcement. So, WhatsApp most likely reacted to the substantial drop in usage.
“During this time, we understand some people may check out other apps to see what they have to offer. We’ve seen some of our competitors try to get away with claiming they can’t see people’s messages – if an app doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default that means they can read your messages. Other apps say they’re better because they know even less information than WhatsApp. We believe people are looking for apps to be both reliable and safe, even if that requires WhatsApp having some limited data. We strive to be thoughtful on the decisions we make and we’ll continue to develop new ways of meeting these responsibilities with less information, not more,” says WhatApp about its competitors.
WhatsApp is the world’s most-used messaging app. It has more than two billion monthly active users. At this scale, it would have braved the storm. But its response highlights the importance of the initial user reactions.
WhatsApp will roll out the updated terms of service in May. It explains why it wants to address all issues as early as now. And it leaves room to answer questions and reassure its users before the update.