Dubbed as a business update, WhatsApp’s proposed privacy update has stirred a debate whether or not it is actually a data grab for the core Facebook business.
In short WhatsApp put out the following press release:
WhatsApp was built on a simple idea: what you share with your friends and family stays between you. This means we will always protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption, so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see these private messages. It’s why we don’t keep logs of who everyone’s messaging or calling. We also can’t see your shared location and we don’t share your contacts with Facebook.
What is changing:
The update includes:
- Enabling customer service: People find it useful to chat with businesses to ask questions, to make a purchase, or get helpful information like purchase receipts. We’re making it easier to chat with businesses who may use Facebook business products. To respond to customers, some businesses need secure hosting services that Facebook plans to offer. When a business uses this service, we will clearly label the chat so it’s up to you whether or not you message them.
- Discovering a business: Often people discover businesses on Facebook or Instagram from ads that show a button you can click to message them using WhatsApp. Just like other ads on Facebook, if you choose to click on these ads, it may be used to personalize the ads you see on Facebook. Again, WhatsApp and Facebook cannot see the content of any end to end encrypted messages.
- Shopping experiences: More people are shopping online, increasing as we are apart. Some businesses with a Shop on Facebook or Instagram can also have Shops on their WhatsApp business profile. This allows you to see a business’s products on Facebook and Instagram and shop from it directly in WhatsApp. If you choose to interact with Shops, we will let you know in WhatsApp how your data is being shared with Facebook.
In totality, Facebook will still have to overcome user discomfort. Facebook is now at mercy to misinformation, if they start to shut it out, many people will ask the question why they didn’t enact this stance previously.