February 18, 2021
As a reminder, we’re building new ways to chat or shop with a business on WhatsApp that are entirely optional. Personal messages will always be end-to-end encrypted, so WhatsApp can’t read or listen to them.
We’ve reflected on what we could have done better here. We want everyone to know our history of defending end-to-end encryption and trust we’re committed to protecting people’s privacy and security. We’re now using our Status feature to share our values and updates directly within WhatsApp. We’ll be doing much more to make our voice clear going forward.
In the coming weeks, we’ll display a banner in WhatsApp providing more information that people can read at their own pace. We’ve also included more information to try and address concerns we’re hearing. Eventually, we’ll start reminding people to review and accept these updates to keep using WhatsApp.
We also think it’s important people know how we can provide WhatsApp for free. Every day millions of people start a WhatsApp chat with a business because it’s easier to do so than placing a phone call or exchanging emails. We charge businesses to provide customer service on WhatsApp - not people. Some shopping features involve Facebook so that businesses can manage their inventory across apps. We display more information directly in WhatsApp so people can choose if they want to engage with businesses, or not.
During this time, we understand some people may check out other apps to see what they have to offer. We’ve seen some of our competitors try to get away with claiming they can’t see people’s messages - if an app doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption by default that means they can read your messages. Other apps say they’re better because they know even less information than WhatsApp. We believe people are looking for apps to be both reliable and safe, even if that requires WhatsApp having some limited data. We strive to be thoughtful on the decisions we make and we’ll continue to develop new ways of meeting these responsibilities with less information, not more.
We deeply appreciate everyone who has helped us address concerns and remain available to answer any questions. We haven’t stopped building for 2021 and can’t wait to share more in the weeks and months ahead.