Facebook SA clarifies WhatsApp ‘privacy’ scare
14 January 2021 - 16:27
WhatsApp won’t see your messages or listen in to your calls, Facebook SA confirms.
WhatsApp’s revised private policy sparked a global outcry after the popular Facebook-owned messaging app alerted its 2 billion users to accept the new terms if they wanted to continue using it.
According to reports, WhatsApp will now share data with Facebook.
“We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customise, support, and market our services and their offerings.”
“In terms of the revised policy, it appears that there are different terms of service and privacy policies for users in the European countries and in non-European countries.”
The watchdog said it will be analysing whether the terms of service and the privacy policies indeed differs and applicable to users outside Europe and compliant with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).
“The regulator will engage with Facebook after the completion of the analysis,” it said, adding that it remains committed to ensuring the protection of personal information of South African citizens.
The Information Regulator is, among others, empowered to monitor and enforce compliance by public and private bodies with the provisions of the POPIA.
Facebook SA answers the tough questions
Can they see our private message and hear our calls?
“We can’t see your private messages or hear your calls, and neither can Facebook. Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can read your messages or hear your calls with your friends, family, and co-workers on WhatsApp,” the messaging app said this week.
“Whatever you share, it stays between you. That’s because your personal messages are protected by end-to-end encryption. We will never weaken this security and we clearly label each chat so you know our commitment.”
Is my contact list sent to Facebook?
In addition, WhatsApp stated that it cannot keep logs of who everyone is messaging or calling, see the shared location and neither can Facebook.
“We don’t share your contacts with Facebook when you give us permission, we access only the phone numbers from your address book to make messaging fast and reliable, and we don’t share your contacts lists with the other apps Facebook offers,” its statement shared on its website read.
What information does WhatsApp see from group chats?
Meanwhile, it claims that groups remain private.
“We use group membership to deliver messages and to protect our service from spam and abuse. We don’t share this data with Facebook for ads purposes. Again, these private chats are end-to-end encrypted so we can’t see their content.”
In addition, according to the app, users can still set messages to disappear.
“For additional privacy, you can choose to set your messages to disappear from chats after you send them.”
The Information Regulator’s engagements with Facebook South Africa are ongoing.