WhatsApp to Delay Launch of Update Business Features After Privacy Backlash

(Reuters) -
(Reuters/Thomas White/File Photo)

WhatsApp is delaying an update aimed at increasing business transactions on the platform after a storm of concern from users who feared that the messaging platform was watering down its privacy policy in the process.

WhatsApp users received a notification this month that it was preparing a new privacy policy and terms, and it reserved the right to share some user data with the Facebook app.

That sparked global outcries and a rush of new users to competitor private messaging apps including Telegram and Signal.

WhatsApp on Friday said it would delay the new policy launch to May from February, that the update was focused on allowing users to message with businesses, and that the update does not affect personal conversations, which will continue to have end-to-end encryption.

Facebook has been rolling out business tools on WhatsApp over the past year as it moves to boost revenue from higher-growth units like WhatsApp while knitting together e-commerce infrastructure across the company.

Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014 but has been slow to monetize it.

The app already shares certain categories of personal data, including the user’s phone number and IP address, with Facebook.

“We don’t keep logs of who everyone’s messaging or calling. We also can’t see your shared location and we don’t share your contacts with Facebook,” it said.