A poorly explained update to its terms of service has pushed WhatsApp users to embrace alternative services like Signal and Telegram within their millions.

The exodus was so big that WhatsApp has been forced to delay the execution of the new provisions, which was slated for 8 February, also run a damage limitation campaign to describe to users the changes they were making.

Over the first three weeks of January, Signal has gained 7.5 million users globally, according to statistics shared by the UK parliament’s home affairs committee, also Telegram has gained 25 million.

In both situations, the growth seems to have come at WhatsApp’s expense. Data tracked by the analytics company App Annie reveals WhatsApp falling from the most downloaded program in the united kingdom at the start of the month on the 23rd from 12 January. By contrast, Signal was not even in the top 1,000 apps in the united kingdom on 6 January, yet by 9 January it was the most downloaded program in the nation.

Niamh Sweeney, WhatsApp’s director of public policy for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, told the home affairs committee that the exodus was believed to be associated with this upgrade to the organization’s terms of service.

updated WhatsApp privacy policy

She said that update was made to do just two things: enable a fresh set of features around business messaging, and”make clarifications and provide better transparency” around the organization’s preexisting policies. “There are no changes to our data sharing with Facebook anywhere on the planet,” Sweeney said.

But after viral articles — ironically, widely dispersed on WhatsApp — maintained that the privacy policy rather gave the service the right to read customers’ messages and hand the data over to its parent firm Facebook, WhatsApp announced a delay in the implementation of the new provisions of service.

“We wish to be evident that the policy upgrade does not impact the privacy of your messages with family or friends in any way,”

WhatsApp said in an update posted to its website, which it’s paying to advertise on Google under searches for”WhatsApp privacy policy“. The company says it’s going to delay the implementation of its policy until 15 May.

App Annie’s director of market insights, Amir Ghodrati, said moving fast was important. “These types of changes in messaging and social networking apps are not unusual. Due to the nature of social programs and how the primary functionality entails communicating with other people, their expansion can often move quite fast, based on current events. We have seen growing demand over the last couple of years for encrypted messaging and messaging apps focused on privacy”

The shift to more privacy-focused messaging apps had been building before WhatsApp’s public relations disaster, Ghodrati explained. “Messaging apps that provide privacy attributes saw the best engagement growth in [the first half of] 2020. Other apps saw on average 30% more active users than the alternatives. Apps like Signal, Telegram, Wickr, and WhatsApp offer privacy features ranging from end-to-end encrypted data move to self-destructing messages’.”

Paradoxically, in certain ways, WhatsApp Privacy Policy is more focused than its competitor Telegram. The former applies end-to-end encryption — that prevents the service provider from having the ability to access user messages — by default to each conversation except those between users and huge businesses.

Telegram, nevertheless, just turns on end-to-end encryption to get”secret talks”, an option that users should actively choose for each individual contact. Such discussions” are meant for those who want more secrecy than the average fella”, the service explains in an FAQ.

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Also Check: Busting the myth about the latest Whatsapp Privacy policy

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