Business users of WhatsApp’s not protected by end-to-end encryption

With users migrating to other messaging platforms following privacy concerns stemming from Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp update, Facebook said, it will delay the update.

WhatsApp users are concerned that the Facebook owned messaging app is watering down its privacy policy in the update.

Earlier this month, WhatsApp notified users through a notification that it was preparing a new privacy policy and terms, wherein it said, it reserved the right to share some user data with its Facebook app. The move sparked global outcries and resulted in users migrating to other messaging apps including Signal and Telegram.

In a statement WhatsApp has clarified that the update focused on allowing users to message with businesses and that it does not affect personal conversations, which will continue to have end-to-end encryption.

“This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook,” said WhatsApp in a statement. “While not everyone shops with a business on WhatsApp today, we think that more people will choose to do so in the future and it’s important people are aware of these services”.

In the last few years, Facebook has been rolling out business tools on WhatsApp in an attempt to boost revenues from high-growth units including Instagram and WhatsApp and trying to knit its e-commerce infrastructure across the company.

In 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion. It has taken its time to monetize it. Already WhatsApp shares certain categories of personal data, including the user’s phone number and IP address, with Facebook.

“We don’t keep logs of who everyone’s messaging or calling. We also can’t see your shared location and we don’t share your contacts with Facebook,” said Facebook.

In October 2020, WhatsApp had said it would start offering in-app purchases via Facebook Shops and would offer companies who use its customer service messaging tools the the ability to store messages on its servers.

Significantly, conversations with a business using the new hosting service would not be protected by the app’s end-to-end encryption.

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