WhatsApp Uses Status Updates to Remind Users About Its Privacy Commitments
"WhatsApp is now on Status," the message begins. "We'll let you know about new features and updates here. One thing that isn't new is our commitment to your privacy. WhatsApp can't read or listen to your personal conversations as they're end-to-end encrypted. Stay tuned for more updates!"
The Stories-style in-app messages began appearing over the weekend for users in the U.S. and the U.K., while users in India have reportedly been receiving them for longer. In a statement given to The Verge, WhatsApp explained the reasoning behind the move:
"There's been a lot of misinformation and confusion around our recent update and we want to help everyone understand the facts behind how WhatsApp protects people's privacy and security," a WhatsApp spokesperson told The Verge. "Going forward, we're going to provide updates to people in the Status tab so people hear from WhatsApp directly. Our first update reaffirms that WhatsApp cannot see your personal messages, and neither can Facebook, because they are protected by end-to-end encryption."
However, that hasn't stopped an exodus of millions of users from the service to rival messaging apps like Telegram and Signal, both of which have been quick to exploit the situation to their advantage.
Telegram has since added the ability for users to import their chat history from WhatsApp so they won't lose old conversations, while Signal recently got an update containing several new features clearly designed to appeal to former WhatsApp users.