WhatsApp notified its users in January of a change in its policy regarding data sharing, where some information on people’s interactions with businesses would be shared with parent company Facebook. This change is for a better customer experience.
But it wasn’t before, and never was – yet millions of people took to downloading different messaging apps like Signal and Telegram in order to avoid the change. As a result, both apps rose to the top of downloads, and Facebook launched a full-scale PR campaign to better explain the update, which included full-page newspaper ads announcing the update in India’s leading dailies.
As a result, Facebook announced it would delay the change and rethink its processes, trying to placate its increasingly disgruntled user base.
A year earlier, Facebook announced that it would do “a lot more to clear up any misinformation” about how privacy and security work within the app, hoping that clarity would enable it to move forward. Facebook needs to update its policy in order to maximize the revenue it generates from its messaging app. The change will allow brands to set up business profiles on the messaging app and provide more flexibility for in-app gaming and eCommerce transactions.
While WhatsApp has softened the language in its new explanations for the pending update, the basic premise remains the same, as users have gradually seen the privacy update prompt prompts again over the last few weeks. In order to continue using WhatsApp, users need to agree to allow Facebook to collect and analyze some business data – entirely relating to business interactions.
As reported by The Next Web:
“MEITY has given WhatsApp seven days to respond to this notice with a deadline of 25 May. It added that if the response from the Facebook-owned company is not satisfactory, the government can take lawful actions against the social networking giant.”
More than 459 million active users live in India, making it WhatsApp’s biggest user market in the region, and the new change aims to facilitate the growth of WhatsApp within the business clients. It is likely that Facebook will enable direct monetization for WhatsApp in the Indian market by transforming WhatsApp into the key app for so many functions among Indian users, such as eCommerce and other business transactions.