One particular section of the policy stoked concern among users: what user data is collected and shared with Facebook, which has a lackluster track record around privacy and protecting people’s data. The confusion surrounding the update has contributed to a mass of users moving to competing apps such as Signal.
Now WhatsApp’s update won’t roll out until May 15.
“We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update. There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts,” WhatsApp said in a blog post on Friday announcing the delay.
In the Friday blog post, WhatsApp emphasized that its platform features end-to-end encryption, meaning neither it nor Facebook can see users’ private messages. It also doesn’t keep logs of who users are calling or messaging. WhatsApp said it can’t see a person’s shared location and that it doesn’t share a user’s contacts with Facebook.
The larger update to the policy impacts people who chat with businesses on WhatsApp. Businesses that use the app to connect with customers can choose to store logs of their conversations on Facebook hosting services. But WhatsApp said it would clearly label the chat so it’s up to the user whether or not they want to message that business.
“The update does not change WhatsApp’s data sharing practices with Facebook and does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family wherever they are in the world,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement earlier this week, adding that the company remains “deeply committed to protecting people’s privacy.”
WhatsApp has been making other attempts to explain the policy, including by publishing an FAQ on its privacy practices.