Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Facebook and WhatsApp Do About-Face on Privacy Update

Facebook and WhatsApp appear to be doing an about-face on a controversial privacy update.

Facebook sparked a furor when it announced it would start sharing WhatsApp data with other Facebook-owned companies. Users who failed to agree to the new terms would be locked out of the app until they did agree. Many users deleted their account and switched to competing platforms, and several countries came out in opposition to the move.

In response to the backlash, Facebook initially postponed the rollout date, and then partially reversed course, saying people would not get locked out of the app. Instead, users would be persistently reminded to accept the terms, and be subjected to limited functionality until they did so.

The company now appears to be doing a complete about-face, sayingit will not keep reminding individuals or limit their functionality.

Considering the majority of users who have seen the update have accepted, we’ll continue to display a notification in WhatsApp providing more information about the update and reminding those who haven’t had a chance to do so to review and accept. We currently have no plans for these reminders to become persistent and to limit the functionality of the app.

If WhatsApp does indeed abide by this statement, score one for privacy advocates who kept pushing back.

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