WhatsApp goes ahead with data sharing plans

Facebook's WhatsApp says it is going ahead with controversial privacy policy changes that will share the messaging platform's users' data with Facebook and other group businesses.

Following the plan announced at the beginning of the year a number of WhatsApp users moved to rival messaging apps like Telegram and Signal.

This reaction prompted WhatsApp to delay the data sharing plan to this May and to explain that the change was mainly designed to allow users to communicate with businesses easier - who pay WhatsApp to help run their e-commerce operations on the platform.

WhatsApp maintains that personal conversations will continue to be encrypted on the platform, and not leaked to anyone else.

The company said: “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.”

It added: “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.”

WhatsApp said it will now start reminding users to “review and accept updates” to enable them to keep using the messaging platform.

Parent Facebook came under fire this week after it blocked all news content in Australia in response to a government plan there to allow Australian news firms to get payment for the content - to help protect and fund the struggling publishing industry.

Rival Google recently struck a deal with French publishers to get payments for excerpts of their content appearing on Google platforms. That deal followed similar agreements with specific titles in Australia and the US.

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