WhatsApp delays controversial privacy update
WhatsApp announced Friday that it will delay a planned, controversial privacy update that has driven users away from the platform.
The scheduled changes will be pushed back from Feb. 8 to May 15 to give users more time to understand the updates, the company explained in a blog post.
WhatsApp had notified users earlier this month about a slate of what appeared to be minor changes to its privacy terms.
The notification — which required users to agree or have their accounts deleted — drove rumors that WhatsApp was going to give Facebook access to view messages and contact lists. Outrage about the changes soon followed.
Will Cathcart, the head of the Facebook-owned messaging service, wrote a lengthy thread earlier this month debunking those rumors.
Boosted by a supportive tweet from Tesla’s Elon Musk, users flocked to alternative messaging services like the encrypted Signal.
So many users shifted over to Signal that the app was down for most of the day Friday.
The delay in the update will give WhatsApp more time to correct the record.
“Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us and to so many who have helped spread facts and stop rumors,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We will continue to put everything we have into making WhatsApp the best way to communicate privately.”