WhatsApp to try again to change privacy policy in mid-May

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WhatsApp to try again to change privacy policy in mid-May

After an abortive attempt to change its privacy policy led to millions of users signing up for competing services, WhatsApp has said it will try for a

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After an abortive attempt to change its privacy policy led to millions of users signing up for competing services, WhatsApp has said it will try for a second time to roll out the update in mid-May.

In an effort to smooth the transition, WhatsApp will for the first time allow limited access to its services for users who do not agree to the new terms of service. From 15 May, those users will no longer be able to send or read messages but will continue to be able to receive calls and notifications for a “short time”.

Eventually, those users will be cut off unless they accept the new terms. In the first three weeks of this year when WhatsApp initially attempted to change its terms, its competitors Signal and Telegram gained more than 30 million users between them.

In January, viral posts – ironically, widely spread on WhatsApp – claimed the privacy policy gave the service the right to read users’ messages and hand the information over to its parent company, Facebook.

“We’ve spent the last several weeks reviewing feedback from users and we spent time (virtually) with people from many countries,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said. “This was a great opportunity for us to hear about people’s concerns and learn what we could have done better.

“People want to know that WhatsApp and Facebook cannot read or listen to personal conversations as they’re end-to-end encrypted. After that, people want to know that WhatsApp does not keep logs of who everyone is messaging and that we do not share contact lists with Facebook. This is our global approach to protecting people’s most private information and that’s not changing.”

The company’s new terms of service are no different from those it attempted to introduce in January, but it hopes that a more verbose information screen, as well as more time to review the proposed changes, will allay users’ fears.

If not, it hopes the short period of time when users will still be able to receive calls and notifications could tempt them back. According to TechCrunch, which first reported on the plans, users will be able to receive some contacts for a few weeks after the 15 May deadline. The knowledge that there are unanswered messages may be enough for many to take the leap and accept the new terms of service after all.

The new terms of service are mainly focused on a set of features that allow businesses to connect shops on WhatsApp with similar services on the main Facebook app. That entails an unprecedented level of connection between the two services, which sparked the concern among some users.

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