WhatsApp is apparently using Status messages — the app’s take on Stories — to set users’ minds at ease.
Users of the Facebook-owned messaging app in the U.S. and UK received reassuring Status notes about WhatsApp’s approach to privacy on Saturday, according to a report from The Verge. One of Mashable’s sister sites in Asia also spotted similar messages earlier in the week.
“One thing that isn’t new is our commitment to your privacy,” one page reads. Another says: “WhatsApp can’t read or listen to your personal conversations as they’re end-to-end encrypted.”
The introduction of the platform’s soon-to-be-new terms of service, which was meant to go into effect on Feb. 8 before it was delayed, didn’t exactly go over well. That’s because the policy noted that WhatsApp shares user data with its parent company. And as most people reading this probably know, Facebook doesn’t have the greatest history when it comes to protecting user privacy.
As backlash boiled over in mid-January, WhatsApp responded by delaying the policy shift by three months. The company also stepped up to address more specific concerns — some which seem to be detailed in these new Status stories as well.
In short, WhatsApp wants users to know that neither it nor Facebook can read private messages or hear calls. The service also doesn’t keep activity logs for users of the app, and it can’t see your location or share your contacts with Facebook.
The new Status stories appear to be another aspect of WhatsApp’s ongoing campaign to educate users about the upcoming shift. As backlash over the revised policy spread and became more intense, interest in the messaging app Signal, which has much more full-featured end-to-end encryption, surged.
WhatsApp is likely looking to hang onto any users it can at this point after a bruising stretch of weeks. If you use the app yourself, expect to see more informative Status messages like the ones described above in the weeks and months ahead of May 15.