Thursday 25 August 2016

WhatsApp's new Privacy Policy [fixed]

WhatsApp recently updated their privacy policy. To prevent users from getting skittish, they also wrote a blog post explaining how wonderful everything was. I found some mistakes in their blog post, though, so I thought I'd fix it up for them. The original post can be found here:

About those 17 billion dollars we paid for a chat app? Um, we kind of need to make that back again

Today, we’re updating WhatsApp’s terms and privacy policy for the first time in four years, as part of our plans to test ways for people to communicate with businesses making WhatsApp profitable by allowing businesses to contact you in the months ahead. The updated documents also reflect that we’ve joined Facebook and that we've recently rolled out many new features (we’d like you to focus on the new features, instead of the changes to our privacy policy), like end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp Calling, and messaging tools like WhatsApp for web and desktop. You can read the full documents here.

People use our app every day to keep in touch with the friends and loved ones who matter to them, and this isn't changing (Please go ahead and think about just how useful WhatsApp is to you for a moment. You don’t really have a choice but to agree to our new terms). But as we announced earlier this year, we want to explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you too may be able to finally turn a profit for us, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam (depending on your definition of Spam). Whether it's hearing from your bank about a potentially fraudulent transaction, or getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight, or maybe seeing a text message or two that’s actually an advertisement to help us become profitable, many of us get this information elsewhere, including in text messages and phone calls. We want to test these features in the next several months, but need to update our terms and privacy policy to do so (well, maybe “need” is a strong word, but the current ones are a bit inconvenient for us).

We're also updating these documents to make clear that we've rolled out end-to-end encryption (remember to focus on our new features please). When you and the people you message are using the latest version of WhatsApp, your messages are encrypted by default, which means you're the only people who can read them. Even as we coordinate more with Facebook in the months ahead, your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else (History and common sense say that we’ve probably opened up a back door for NSA, but that’s for like terrorism and stuff, so don’t worry about it). We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won't sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers (but we might let them contact you through WhatsApp. Even though they can use your number in the only way that matters, please focus on the fact that they don’t actually possess those 10 digits that you value so much).
But (remember, anything we say before the word “but” doesn’t really count) by coordinating more with Facebook, we'll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp (Please focus on the ‘fight spam’ part, and skip over the ‘tracking’ part. Also please don’t read this piece on how much can be inferred by looking only at metadata from the EFF: And by connecting your phone number with Facebook's systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads (which will help us make money) if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you've never heard of (not in a creepy way though. Don’t worry. This is all about profit). You can learn more, including how to control the use of your data, here.
Our belief in the value of profiting from private communications is unshakeable, and we remain committed to giving you the fastest, simplest, and most reliable experience on WhatsApp. As always, we look forward to your feedback and thank you for using WhatsApp.

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