Explained: WhatsApp updates privacy policy on user information

Explained: WhatsApp updates privacy policy on user information
Photo Credit: Reuters
6 Jan, 2021

Facebook owned messaging and voice over IP platform WhatsApp recently sent out a prompt to users to accept its updated privacy policy. 

The updates mainly deal with sharing of information across Facebook companies as well as sharing payments data with partner payment service provider (PSP) banks in India for those using UPI-based WhatsApp Pay. 

While the updated privacy policy was dated January 4, 2021, the specifications on WhatsApp Pay services in India was dated December 28,2020. 

The prompt sent by WhatsApp showed that the new privacy policy and terms of service will come into effect on February 8, 2021. Detailed email queries sent to WhatsApp seeking information on what happens if users do not accept the changes did not elicit a response till the time of publishing the article.

Here are some of the key features of the changes in the policy:

  • The updated policy says that WhatsApp works with other Facebook companies, in addition to third-party service providers to provide, improve, customize, support and market its services
  • The list of these Facebook companies includes Facebook Payments, Facebook Payments International, Onavo, Facebook Technologies, Facebook Technologies Ireland, WhatsApp, WhatsApp Ireland and CrowdTangle, as listed under FAQs
  • Another update in the policy says that the use of payment services on WhatsApp, the privacy policy of the country will be determined by geography. It is pertinent to note that WhatsApp was cleared to launch its UPI-based payments product in India to 20 million users by the National Payments Corporation of India in November 2020. 
  • The privacy policy governing payments in India on WhatsApp mentions that WhatsApp uses information provided by the user to cross-sell, promote and provide value-added services among other use cases approved by NPCI
  • It also states that “PSP banks may also collect, use and share information, as set forth in their privacy policies, in conjunction with helping to provide Payments to you.”
  • Another update concerning the use of WhatsApp for business states that multiple people in the business might be able to see users' messages to the entity, including services provided by Facebook to manage communication with customers. “To understand how a business processes your information, including how it might share your information with third parties or Facebook, you should review that business’ privacy policy or contact the business directly,” the policy update says.

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