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WhatsApp postpones privacy policy update amid Facebook data sharing concerns

WhatsApp has announced it is postponing the roll-out of its controversial new privacy policy, which will see some user data shared with parent company Facebook.

The company has been sending users a pop-up, informing them they must accept the new policy or lose access to WhatsApp on February 8. However, now WhatsApp says it is moving back the date amid what it describes as “misinformation” surrounding the planned change.

WhatsApp says this will provide more time for it to “clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on Facebook” before the changes are eventually enacted in the spring. On May 15 to be precise.

The company says nobody’s account will be deleted or suspended on February 8, which is just three weeks away. In a blog post, WhatsApp says it wants everyone to understand its principles and the facts, before the changes are made.

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The company points out that the change will benefit users who will now have options to message businesses on WhatsApp. It won’t open the floodgates to the Evil Facebook Empire to inhale all of your private chats to spam you with targeted ads, WhatsApp assures.

WhatsApp writes: “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.

“With these updates, none of that is changing. Instead, the update includes new options people will have to message a business on WhatsApp, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data. While not everyone shops with a business on WhatsApp today, we think that more people will choose to do so in the future and it’s important people are aware of these services. This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook.”

Earlier this week, WhatsApp looked to clear things up with an infographic pertaining to the new policy, but that clearly hasn’t been enough to quell concerns. We should point out that nothing about the new policy is changing, except the fact WhatsApp is giving users more time to get used to the idea.