WhatsApp Will Start Displaying an In-App Banner to Provide More Insight to New Policy
News broke earlier this year about WhatsApp mandating data sharing with Facebook, and while it was not as serious as people thought it would be, the policy change came with a backlash from users worldwide. While most users were okay with this policy change because let's admit it, what even is privacy in the modern-day and age, the reason why many got upset was the way WhatsApp was doing it. You see, previously, you had the choice to opt-out of something of such nature, but this time, it was mandatory, and not doing so would have resulted in losing your WhatsApp account.
Needless to say, things did get serious, and the Turkish government even proposed an anti-trust investigation on WhatsApp. WhatsApp decided to halt the policy change but did clarify that it will take place eventually, and they are just giving the users more time to read about the new policy changes.
In a recent blog post, WhatsApp has announced that the service will start displaying a banner in the app to provide more information about these policy changes. With this change, the company aims to ensure that all concerns regarding the new policy have been addressed. WhatsApp is planning on making sure that the banner stays in place for some time, which will help the users go through the changes at their own pace. It is worth noting that WhatsApp is already informing the users about new policy changes through WhatsApp statuses, and now we are getting these in-app banners.
The blog post also sheds light on WhatsApp's business model; this is perhaps an attempt to assure the users that they are not the product. This is what they have to say,
We also think it’s important people know how we can provide WhatsApp for free. Every day millions of people start a WhatsApp chat with a business because it’s easier to do so than placing a phone call or exchanging emails. We charge businesses to provide customer service on WhatsApp – not people. Some shopping features involve Facebook so that businesses can manage their inventory across apps. We display more information directly in WhatsApp so people can choose if they want to engage with businesses, or not.
In addition to that, the blog post also talks about the competitors who have benefitted a lot from the recent events. WhatsApp talks about how some competitors have tried to get away with saying that they cannot see people's messages, even when they are not offering end-to-end encryption by default. The blog post also talks about how if an app does not offer end-to-end encryption by default, the developers can easily access those messages. This seems to be a direct jab at Telegram, an app that only offers end-to-end encryption for its Secret Chat.
Talking about other companies, this is what WhatsApp said in their blog post.
Other apps say they’re better because they know even less information than WhatsApp.We believe people are looking for apps to be both reliable and safe, even if that requires WhatsApp having some limited data. We strive to be thoughtful on the decisions we make and we’ll continue to develop new ways of meeting these responsibilities with less information, not more.
At this point, it seems like the company is taking offense, and I am not sure that whether they are in any position to do so. Whatever the case may be, we still have time to see how this recent change will affect WhatsApp and its operations.