Facebook admits it botched its WhatsApp privacy policy update

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Facebook knows it’s screwed up.

The social media giant published a blog post on Thursday listing the previously belated updates to privacy policy for WhatsApp, the messaging app that Facebook bought for around $ 16 billion in 2014. In the post aimed to reassure users concerned about WhatsApp sharing their data with Facebook (which has been the case for years), WhatsApp admitted that things weren’t going so well in the communications department.

“We thought about what we could have done better here,” says the blog post. “We will do a lot more to make our voice clear in the future.”

Some of that clarity will appear to come in the form of an in-app banner prompt encouraging users to start reviewing the details of the new privacy policy starting a few weeks ago.

Feel better?

If it looks like WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, is making this update a big deal, it’s because there is no alternative. The company faced user backlash in January when the changes were announced. Rumor has it that Facebook could read the content of WhatsApp messages after the update (that was and still is not true). In response, users flocked to other (and more private) messaging apps like Signal.

It is noteworthy, however, that Thursday’s blog post accidentally throws Facebook Messenger under the bus. In the post, WhatsApp argues that there is nothing to worry about reading your messages as the app uses end-to-end encryption by default.

“We’ve seen some of our competitors try to pretend that they can’t see people’s messages. If an app doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default, it means they can read your messages.”

Which is a great point. Speaking of which, can you guess which Facebook messaging product doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default? Yes, that would be Facebook Messenger.

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WhatsApp would make you believe that any perceived issues related to its new privacy policy are based on ill-managed optics. That the failure to clearly communicate the changes, rather than the changes themselves, caused the backlash in January.

Either way, Thursday’s blog post and its emphasis on end-to-end encryption is just another reminder to get rid of Facebook – and that’s the kind of corporate failure we can all put behind us.

WATCH: It’s surprisingly easy to be more secure online

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