Govt examining WhatsApp user policy updated terms privacy policy changes amid privacy debate91 per cent WhatsApp users said they will not use its payment feature if it shares payment and transaction information with Facebook and third parties.

Ever since Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced updating its privacy policy earlier in January, the social media is abuzz with users, both individuals and businesses, looking to ditch WhatsApp and switch to alternatives such as Signal and Telegram. In fact, in its biggest market – India, only 18 per cent users are likely to continue using WhatsApp and let it use their data while 36 per cent will reduce usage drastically and 15 per cent users are likely to stop using it completely, according to responses from 8,977 citizens in a survey by community social media platform LocalCircles. WhatsApp had informed its more than 2 billion customers globally that they would have to agree to share certain information such as contact number with Facebook to continue using its service that will come into effect on February 8. However, it has now extended its implementation to May 15.

24 per cent of users said they and their groups are considering moving to other platforms. The survey had received overall more than 24,000 responses from users of Whatsapp based in 244 districts of India. 91 per cent of WhatsApp users also said that they will not use its payment features if it shares payment and transaction information with Facebook and third parties. WhatsApp saw a 35 per cent decrease in downloads in India, from 2 million between January 1 and 5 to 1.3 million between January 6 and 10, as per Sensor Tower. In comparison, Signal’s 24,000 Indian app downloads between January 1 and 5 increased to 2.3 million between January 6 and 10. Likewise, Telegram, which had 1.3 million downloads during that period were up to 1.5 million between January 6-10. According to LocalCircles, Whatsapp may see its 60 million users going away, as per the survey findings, based on the assumption that 400 million smartphones in India currently have WhatsApp installed.

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Financial Express Online had recently reported how not just large enterprises but startups too are moving to Signal or planning to do so. However, WhatsApp had recently clarified that the changes to the privacy policy “does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way.” It said that the updates are related to “messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional,” as per a note by WhatsApp. The company had, in an infographic, claimed that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see messages, or hear calls and cannot see the shared location and that the chat app doesn’t keep logs of who calls or messages to a user. In addition, it said that WhatsApp doesn’t share user contacts with Facebook and that WhatsApp Groups remain private while the user can download his/her data.

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As a result, 67 per cent of users said that they are planning not to continue chats with Whatsapp business accounts if Whatsapp shares user and transaction information with Facebook and third parties. WhatsApp business accounts is used by companies such as Myntra, MakeMyTrip, Bookmyshow, etc. to share transaction details, invoices, vouchers, etc., with the customers. Even small businesses use WhatsApp business accounts to interact with their customers, take orders, and supply goods.



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