Whatsapp is now starting a second attempt and is trying to do better: more transparency, better explanations, longer time to think about it for users. The new ultimatum runs until May 15th, originally the deadline was supposed to end on February 8th. With a blog entry, a new help page and answers to frequently asked questions, Whatsapp is trying to calm down worried users. The company also makes it clear what happens if you still don’t agree to the new terms – and these plans are tough.
Whatsapp will not immediately delete the user account of a refusal, but it will severely limit its functions. “You will receive calls and notifications for a short time, but you can neither read nor send messages in the app,” it says. Whatsapp stirs up the so-called fear of missing out, the fear of missing out on something: look who’s writing you everything. It would be a shame if you no longer find out what your girlfriend is trying to tell you. Don’t you want to change your mind after all?
The new explanations remain confused
With this trick Whatsapp should get many people to accept the changes after all. But whether they really know what exactly they are nodding off is questionable. Because the new explanations also remain confused. The blog entry is full of PR phrases. There is “continuing to work hard to clear up all misunderstandings” and “even more efforts are made to ensure clarity” so that people can “obtain information at their own pace”.
In the penultimate paragraph, Whatsapp reveals the pressure it has put itself under through its misleading communication. The biggest messenger in the world makes fun of its smaller competitors. It was noticed “how some of our competitors falsely claimed that they could not see the messages from users”. This probably means Telegram, the app does not offer any standard end-to-end encryption. “We believe that people want apps that are both reliable and secure” – a swipe at Signal whose servers briefly failed to withstand the huge onslaught in January.
Signal and Threema are considered alternatives
The two biggest fears are unfounded. On the one hand, messages remain end-to-end encrypted, Whatsapp can never see the content. On the other hand, metadata is shared with the parent company Facebook so that they can find out who opens the app and when and with whom. However, this has been happening for years. Within the EU, Whatsapp still does not use this information to personalize advertising on Facebook or Instagram.