“No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8,” WhatsApp said in a blog post. “We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp.”
Privacy advocates (as well as Elon Musk) have called for WhatsApp’s users to ditch the Facebook-owned messaging app and instead opt for encrypted platforms like Signal. WhatsApp says personal messages are also protected by end-to-end encryption, but it has for years openly collected certain user data to share with Facebook. Telegram, another secure messaging app, on Tuesday said it had surpassed 500 million active users, and gained more than 25 million new global users in just 72 hours.
WhatsApp says neither it nor Facebook can see private messages. In addition, the company says it doesn’t keep logs of who users message or call, can’t see shared location and doesn’t share contacts with Facebook.
Also, interacting with Facebook’s Shops commerce feature via WhatsApp allows a person’s shopping activity to be used to show related ads on Facebook and Instagram. WhatsApp says this feature is optional and that when you use it, “we will tell you in the app how your data is being shared with Facebook.” Additionally, clicking on a Facebook ad with the option to message a business through WhatsApp could allow Facebook to then show more related ads.