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Monday, March 01, 2021

‘Optional experiences’ for businesses with new WhatsApp update

The updated policy and terms were first announced by an in-app notification in early January to users, who were asked to accept them by February 8, failing which they would lose access to their accounts.

Written by Pranav Mukul | New Delhi |
Updated: January 29, 2021 8:25:55 am
Mark Zuckerberg (File)Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (File)

Facebook-owned WhatsApp is in the process of updating its privacy policy and terms of service to reflect “optional experiences” for businesses, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of parent company Facebook, said in an earnings call early Thursday. This is in sharp contrast with WhatsApp’s earlier notification to users suggesting that they will be required to agree to the new terms and policy to continue using the messaging app post February 8. WhatsApp had subsequently extended this deadline till May 15.

“Many businesses need more than a phone to manage their customer service, so we’re building tools to let businesses store and manage their WhatsApp chats using our secure hosting infrastructure if they would like. We’re in the process of updating WhatsApp’s privacy policy and terms of service to reflect these optional experiences,” Zuckerberg said.

WhatsApp privacy policy, explained |What is new, and do you have to accept it?

The updated policy and terms were first announced by an in-app notification in early January to users, who were asked to accept them by February 8, failing which they would lose access to their accounts. These changes sought user approvals, which the company deemed necessary to introduce new ways to message businesses via WhatsApp Business. Zuckerberg said business messages will only be hosted on its infrastructure if business choose so.

“We want everyone to know the lengths we go to protect your private messages, so we’re moving the date of this update back to give everyone time to understand what the update means,” he said.

WhatsApp’s new policy and terms of service have drawn flak for different rules for Indian users vis-à-vis European users.

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