WhatsApp Delays Its Highly Opposed Policy Update, With It Now Slated For May 15th

WhatsApp has finally chosen to relent in the face of substantial harsh criticism, and has delayed its controversial policy update until the 15th of May, 2021.

The company's decision to cave in and concede to user demands is honestly the only prudent measure left to it. The amount of backlash the social media communicating platform endured before it decided to do the responsible thing still indicates a stubbornness that only relented in the face of losing business prospects. Which is classic corporate selfishness to be expected from a company owned by Facebook.

WhatsApp's update to its Terms of Service entailed sharing user data with Facebook. While the sharing of data with a conglomerate that has been the subject of both congressional hearings and an FTC lawsuit is worrying enough on it's own, the unspecified nature of the data being shared proved to be alarming. Users flocked to social media, with vocal complaints about how their chats were no longer safe, that any data could be extracted, and so on and so forth. As conspiracies joined the mix, people quickly decided to jump ship and look for better prospects.

Enter Telegram and Signal, the latter of which was actually suggested by tech wizard Elon Musk. Both of these social media platforms have seen a heavy influx of users within a week of the policy change announcement, and WhatsApp certainly wasn't blind to what was happening. Quickly, but perhaps not fast enough, the platform tried to slap a band-aid on the ever-increasing puncture wound of leaving users.

WhatsApp's head, Will Cathcart, took to Twitter. Explaining that the policy change was standard business that every app partakes in, he further tried to reassure users that messages on the platform would still remain end-to-end encrypted and therefore safe from any and all parties involved. The company even took out full-page adverts in India, their biggest market, dedicated to explaining the policy change and convincing the community to stay.

Ultimately, it seems that nothing else but rectification worked, as WhatsApp has withdrawn the policy update. However, it should be noted that the new terms and conditions are slated to re-appear in May, 2021. They may come with changes more appealing to consumers, or just have enough window-dressing to make sure that users don't notice anything to complain about. But the damage has been done, perhaps irreversibly. WhatsApp and Facebook have a steep mountain to summit before they can regain trust in the public eye.

Photo: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg/ Getty Images

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