WhatsApp States Majority of Indians Have Accepted New ToS, No Word On Withdrawal Despite Government Notice

WhatsApp's new privacy policy has been embroiled in continuity since the past three months now, but the company is going ahead with it anyway.

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Despite privacy concerns around WhatsApp’s new policy, majority of its users have accepted them, the company said today. “We continue to engage with the government and we reaffirm what we said before  that this update does not impact the privacy of personal messages for anyone. Our goal is to provide information about new options we are building that people will have, to message a business on WhatsApp, in the future. While the majority of users who have received the new terms of service have accepted them, we appreciate some people haven’t had the chance to do so yet. No accounts were deleted on May 15 because of this update and no one in India lost functionality of WhatsApp either. We will follow up with reminders to people over the next several weeks.We’re grateful for the important role WhatsApp plays in people’s lives and we’ll take every opportunity to explain how we protect people’s personal messages and private information,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said, responding to reports about a government letter sent to the company, asking for the new policy to be withdrawn. 

The Indian government sent a letter to WhatsApp late on May 18, asking the company to withdraw the policy. The government gave WhatsApp seven days to respond to its letter. This is the second time that the government has sent such a letter over this policy, with the first one being sent in January this year, after the policy was announced.

The Facebook-owned app has been embroiled in controversy since January this year, after it informed users about the new privacy policy. The policy seemed to indicate that WhatsApp would be sharing personal data of users with Facebook and said their accounts would be deleted if they didn’t accept it by February 8. The company has since deferred the implementation of the policy and said it will not share personal data or private messages with Facebook or anyone else. The policy went live on May 15 and though WhatsApp said no user accounts would be deleted, the company will be limiting functionalities of users who haven’t accepted the policy.

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