Facebook’s WhatsApp is delaying the roll out of new business features following user backlash over the company’s data sharing practices.
The delay is a setback for WhatsApp’s plan to generate revenue by facilitating commercial exchanges on the messaging app, which Facebook acquired for US$19-billion in 2014 but has been slow to monetise.
WhatsApp said on Friday that users will no longer have to review and accept its updated terms by 8 February, nor will they have their accounts suspended or deleted by that date.
Privacy advocates have jumped on the WhatsApp changes, pointing to what they say is Facebook’s poor track record of supporting consumer interests when handling their data, with many suggesting users migrate to other platforms.
WhatsApp said the planned update does not affect personal conversations, which will continue to have end-to-end encryption, or expand its ability to share data with Facebook.
“The update includes new options people will have to message a business on WhatsApp, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data,” the company said.
WhatsApp said it had set a new target date of 15 May for the launch of the business tools and will approach users gradually to review the policy changes. — Reported by Katie Paul and Munsif Vengattil, (c) 2021 Reuters