Its users know that WhatsApp is planning to introduce changes to its general conditions of use and has already asked its users to accept the changes. However, the process did not go as those responsible for the app had hoped, since rumors spread that these new terms allowed WhatsApp to have access to users' messages and especially to share personal data with its parent company Facebook.
Thus, in recent weeks, we have witnessed a massive “exodus” of users leaving WhatsApp to go to other alternative messaging applications . Among the services chosen by users to replace WhatsApp, there are for example Signal and Telegram which are considered among the best rated in terms of protection of personal data.
Faced with the large number of people decided to drop it, the WhatsApp application has decided to postpone the date of application of the new T & Cs scheduled for February 8, 2021. In addition, the company must conduct a campaign to try to explain to users the changes they actually plan to make and thus limit the damage.
Millions of users gone
The numbers clearly show that users are exiting WhatsApp for other messaging apps. So for example, during the first week of January, it was observed that Signal got around 7.5 million more users globally while Telegram got 25 million. These figures were provided by the UK Parliament's Home Affairs Committee.
In these two cases, it seems that the increase in the number of users is linked to the decline in WhatsApp. According to data collected by the App Annie analysis firm, WhatsApp rose from 8th place of the most downloaded applications in the UK around the beginning of January to the 23 th place on 12 January. For its part, Signal was almost invisible since it was not even among the first 1000 applications on January 6. However, as of January 9, it became the most downloaded app nationally.
Faced with this situation, Niamh Sweeney, who is WhatsApp's director of public policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, spoke to the UK home affairs committee. She said migrating users to other messaging services is apparently linked to the TOS update. According to her, the update is actually intended to introduce a new set of functionalities related to business messaging, but also to clarify some pre-existing policies of the company. She said there was no change regarding data sharing with Facebook.
WhatsApp has thus announced its decision to postpone the implementation of its new T & Cs. According to reports, the new date will be May 15, 2021. On its website, the company insists that the update will not affect the privacy of users' messages at all. Over the next few weeks, WhatsApp will therefore try to recover its users. We will see if the figures will change by May.