‘Guess Someone’s Really Worried’: WhatsApp’s Full-Page Ads in Newspapers Spark Joke-Fest in India


by Radhika Parashar

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has explained to users that its recently rolled-out privacy policy update notification does not breach their privacy.

On Wednesday, the front pages of several Indian newspapers, including the Times of India, The Hindu, and Deccan Herald, carried a big and bold advertisement from WhatsApp reiterating that “respect for your privacy” is in the app’s “DNA“.

Netizens, who have already been grilling the app with questions over the mandatory policy update, have taken to social media to mock WhatsApp’s “desperate attempts” to win back the trust of its users.

WhatsApp is spooked. Full page ad in today’s Times of India. pic.twitter.com/AXX5JhoD5v

— Pradeep Ananth (@PradeepAnanth_) January 13, 2021

In the fight between WhatsApp and Privacy – as usual Times of India is the winner 🏆 pic.twitter.com/DLkgDBjP5f

— Atul Khatri (@one_by_two) January 13, 2021

A full page front page ad in the times of India telling people Whatsapp respects privacy.. guess someone’s really worried.. pic.twitter.com/0yTImn0VKL

— Nitish Phanse (@nitish24p) January 13, 2021

When you want to say ‘trust me’ you don’t use social media like, umm, WhatsApp. You use print. pic.twitter.com/J206xNikHV

— Satbir Singh (@thesatbir) January 13, 2021

WhatsApp forces a new “privacy policy” on India, its biggest market.
Indians start leaving the platform.
WhatsApp runs full-page ads on privacy.
Why would a “FREE” service spend so much money to retain users?
India needs stronger regulation to protect data.
What’s the govt doing? pic.twitter.com/G2DkKRxsT3

— Palki Sharma (@palkisu) January 13, 2021

At the beginning of the week, when WhatsApp users in several countries, including India, the US, and the UK, among others, woke up to its privacy update notification – they realised that they only had two options – either accept the updates or delete their accounts.

The update, which claimed that for business accounts WhatsApp shares data with Facebook’s e-commerce services like Shops to personalise users’ shopping experience, has stirred preference for other messaging apps like Telegram and Signal – as netizens began encouraging each other to get off WhatsApp.

Here is how WhatsApp’s latest in-app notification on policy updates looks like on screen.

I report for @SputnikInt pic.twitter.com/4x3KWFQ1Hs

— Radhika Parashar (@_RadhikaReports) January 6, 2021

#Signal Vs #Telegram, WhatsApp Facebook Messenger: What data does each App collect from your phone? pic.twitter.com/4uqjE2X3BP

— Praseeda Binu (@GouriMadhavam) January 10, 2021

Finally #telegram and #Signal coming up fast..after #WhatsAppPrivacyPolicy crisis ! pic.twitter.com/h0vk9TP3OF

— Hanker (@Hankerstudios) January 10, 2021

​In a bid to handle the situation before it worsens, on 12 January, WhatsApp posted a detailed explanation on its webpage claiming that neither the app itself, nor its parent company Facebook can read messages or listen to calls shared and facilitated via the app.

The popular app, used by two billion users worldwide, also explained that it does not store message and call logs, while highlighting that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see locations exchanged among users on the platform.

We want to address some rumors and be 100% clear we continue to protect your private messages with end-to-end encryption. pic.twitter.com/6qDnzQ98MP

— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) January 12, 2021



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