In a series of ‘Status’ updates sent to all users on the app, WhatsApp assured that it is unable to “read or listen” to users’ personal conversations, adding that all the conversations are “end-to-end encrypted”.
“WhatsApp can’t read or listen to your personal conversations as they’re end-to-end encrypted,” said the message app in one of its Status updates.
“There’s been a lot of misinformation and confusion around our recent update and we want to help everyone understand the facts behind how WhatsApp protects people’s privacy and security,” a WhatsApp spokesperson told The Verge.
“Going forward, we’re going to provide updates to people in the Status tab so people hear from WhatsApp directly. Our first update reaffirms that WhatsApp cannot see your personal messages, and neither can Facebook, because they are protected by end-to-end encryption,” the spokesperson added.
Shortly after this, its counterparts, Signal and Telegram, saw a spike in downloads by users seeking greater privacy.
Around 810,000 users globally installed Signal on 10 January after Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on 7 January to “Use Signal” over WhatsApp due to a change in its privacy terms.
As a result, Signal topped the charts of most downloaded apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play, while Telegram gained about 2.2 million downloads within the last two days, as reported by Reuters.
Following this, WhatsApp announced that it will postpone the data-sharing change to 15 May.
The message app cancelled its 8 February deadline for accepting an update to its terms concerning sharing data with Facebook, saying it would use the pause to clear up misinformation around privacy and security.
“We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update,” WhatsApp said in a blog post.
It went on to assure that the update does not expand its ability to share data with Facebook.
WhatsApp stated that it would instead “go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15″.