FAQ: Whatsapp’s New Privacy Policy Update 2021

UPDATE 16th January 2021: After getting a nationwide backlash from users, Facebook has postponed its new Privacy Policy Update 2021 from 8th February to 15th May 2021. Users will get plenty of time to review the new policies. But well, there’s still no option to ‘decline’ them. Accepting the policies is a must. We shall see how it plays out in the upcoming months.

Much buzz is going around with the new Whatsapp Privacy Policy that Facebook has incorporated within the Whatsapp application. But with that, a lot of facts are also being spread that is not totally true. I went through the policies and am writing the major highlights in today’s post.

Yes, this is a crucial move from Facebook and people deserve to know it. But is it as frightening as it sounds? Let’s find out.

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When is the new policy coming into play?

Ans: The new policy will take effect from 8th February 2021 (15th May 2021) onwards.

 

FAQ: Whatsapp's New Privacy Policy Update 2021

 

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Ans: Here you go:

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Do I get the choice of accepting or rejecting the new Whatsapp policies?

Ans: No, you don’t get a choice. You need to mandatorily accept these policies to continue using Whatsapp services after 8th February 2021. If you don’t accept the policies, you will be barred from using Whatsapp further.

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Can Whatsapp access my messages?

Ans: No & Yes. Let me explain:

All messages sent over the Whatsapp platform are end-to-end encrypted, which means no 3rd party can access them, not even Facebook. So, Facebook cannot use your message contents to show you personalized ads.

But well, to provide their service, Whatsapp accesses your messages in the following ways:

  • When you send a message, it goes to WhatsApp servers, delivers to the recipient, and then gets deleted from WhatsApp servers.
  • If the message cannot be delivered to the recipient (for example, if the recipient is offline), the message stays on Whatsapp servers for up to 30 days temporarily. During this period, Whatsapp tries to deliver the message. Once delivered, it gets deleted from Whatsapp servers. If undelivered, it gets deleted after 30 days automatically.
  • If you forward a media file to more than one person, the media gets stored to Whatsapp servers temporarily to get forwarded from their servers instead of using your device data every time for uploading it.
  • During this entire period, Facebook does not access your message or media contents in any way.
  • If you back up your messages with cloud services like Google Drive or iCloud, your message data will be stored by them. And protected by their respective privacy policies.

 

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Then what data is Facebook collecting via Whatsapp?

Ans: Pretty much everything other than your message contents! This includes, but not limited to:

  • Account Information such as Your name, phone number, about, profile picture.
  • Group names, picture, description, member list.
  • Your contact list.
  • Your status information.
  • Your device location includes hardware, OS, mobile operator or ISP, time zone, IP address, browser information, and battery life.
  • Your precise location.
  • Your time, frequency, and duration of interaction with each person, group, or business on Whatsapp.
  • Your call log on Whatsapp including time, frequency, and duration of the interaction.
  • Error log files.

Facebook will be using this information in every way possible to show you advertisements.

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Can Facebook Collect my Payment Information?

Ans: For the world, YES. For India, NO.

The updated privacy policy (FOR THE WORLD) does state that Facebook is going to collect your payment information, such as:

  • Your payment methods (credit cards, debit cards, etc.).
  • Transaction amount.
  • Shipping details.

If you recall, in India, Whatsapp is only using the UPI services for Whatsapp Pay for P2P payments. It is protected by Whatsapp Payments policy, which states:

  • Limited payment information is accessed by Whatsapp, which is passed to the banking partners and NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India) for facilitating the payments.
  • Your UPI Pin is completely encrypted and isn’t stored anywhere.
  • No other information is accessed or stored by Whatsapp.
  • Facebook does not use any of this information for commercial purposes, such as showing you ads.

So, Indian users are fully protected with their payment information.

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Will Facebook delete my information if I uninstall Whatsapp?

Ans: No. Facebook will retain your information with them even if you uninstall Whatsapp. For permanent deletion of your account, use the ‘Delete my Account‘ feature on Whatsapp. Remember, this is an irreversible process, and you will lose all your information, chats, groups, etc. Proceed with caution.

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I have already ‘Accepted’ the New Privacy Policy. How to undo it?

Ans: Bad News! These policies are actually ‘agreements’ that you accepted. Once you tap on the ‘Agree’ button when the new Whatsapp Privacy policies are shown to you, you already signed the agreement. Now you cannot go back and undo it. The only option left for you is to ‘Delete Your Account’ permanently from Whatsapp. No other ways.

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I have ‘Closed’ the Privacy Policy Notification. How to ‘Accept’ it again?

Ans: Don’t worry! Whatsapp will keep on notifying you about the privacy policy updates at regular intervals and ask for your consent before 8th February 2021. You can accept it then.

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Last Words:

So, that’s all about the major updates and changes you will experience on Whatsapp Messenger. There are also some more updates on businesses’ information and how they interact with their customers etc. But I haven’t touched those here since I only wanted to cover some basic updates that a regular user should know about. You are always welcome to read the fine print and decide for yourself.

Thanks for reading. I hope I was able to clarify all your doubts regarding the new privacy policy for Whatsapp. Coming to whether you want to continue using Whatsapp is up to you. If you ask me, I do not like this move, but at the same time, I don’t find anything surprising. Most of us have already guessed that Facebook is collecting Whatsapp information secretly. These terms will legalize things for them. We cannot leave Whatsapp all at once. But you can surely try out the best WhatsApp alternatives and make your own decision.

If you have further queries, drop a comment below. I will be happy to help. Do share this post with your friends and make them aware. I will be back soon with another interesting update. Keep visiting HiTricks. Don’t forget to join our Telegram Channel to get the latest updates.

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Nirmal Sarkar is an M.Tech Engineering Student from the city of Joy, Kolkata. He is the founder of this blog and covers a wide range of topics from Gadgets to Software to Latest Offers. He is also active on the Blogosphere community on Facebook. You can get in touch with him via [email protected]

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