Home >Companies >News >WhatsApp latest update does not change data-sharing practices with Facebook, says top boss

Messaging platform Whatsapp said on Saturday that its latest update does not change the data sharing practices with its owner, Facebook.

According to a Mint report, the latest update will let Facebook access commercial user data on Whatsapp which will help advertisers target consumers with relevant and customised ads on the company's family of apps including Instagram, said digital experts.

However, the messenger has received criticism in terms of sharing user information with the social media platform. Many including Tesla's Elon Musk have suggested using alternatives. Musk in a tweet had suggested the users to switch to Signal, an American messaging platform.

Will Cathcart, head of Whatsapp, has shared his thoughts on the matter via Twitter.

He said the company updated its policy "to be transparent and to better describe optional people-to-business features".

"It's important for us to be clear, this update describes business communication and does not change WhatsApp's data-sharing practices with Facebook. It does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family wherever they are in the world," he said.

With end-to-end encryption, we cannot see private chats or calls and neither can Facebook and the company remains committed to E2E, the head of Whatsapp said.

"We’ve updated our policy to be transparent and to better describe optional people-to-business features. We wrote about it in October -- this includes commerce on WhatsApp and the ability for people to message a business," Cathcart said.

He said that the businesses want tools to respond quickly to the messages sent to them, adding that about 175 million people message a business account each day on WhatsApp. "It’s too hard today and features like Shops and Pay can help people buy things they want from businesses on WhatsApp," Cathcart said.

The new update that pops up on users' screen, will take effect from 8 February this year. However, the downloads for other messaging platforms like Signal and Telegram have surged.

A Mint report has said that Signal clearly states that it doesn’t sell, rent or monetize users’ personal data or content. Telegram has also assured that it doesn’t use user data to show advertisements and that data collected by it only includes the phone number, contacts and email for two-factor authentication.

"We're in a competition on privacy with others and that's very good for the world. People should have choices in how they communicate and feel confident that no one else can see their chats. There are people who disagree with this, including some governments," Cathcart said.

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