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Companies using WhatsApp’s business API solutions also seeking more clarity on new privacy policy

Companies using WhatsApp’s business API solutions also seeking more clarity on new privacy policy

New Delhi: A range of companies including big banks, e-commerce, and retail majors that use WhatsApp‘s Business API solutions to communicate with customers on the platform are also seeking more clarity on the messaging giant’s new privacy policy.

Following user uproar, WhatsApp has now said it is giving people more time to accept the new updates.

“We want to keep in mind that you get full time to read and accept these conditions, so we have extended the date. This means that no account will be suspended or deleted on 8 February,” WhatsApp said in a statement on Saturday.

“We will take many more steps to remove the misinformation that is spreading about the privacy and security of WhatsApp. After this, we will ask people to review the policy and give them enough time for this. Business options will be available from May 15,” the company added.

WhatsApp had clarified this week that its new privacy policy includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and that it provides further transparency about how it collects and uses data.

“They didn’t do a good job. 20% of the enterprises we work with have reached out to us. They are very confused and want to understand what the implications could be for them. They are asking what is happening. We are telling them nothing changes at our end,” said Ravi Sundararajan, COO, Gupshup, the first company that enabled enterprises in India to use WhatsApp’s API solutions in 2018.

Gupshup works with over 500 companies on enterprise messaging on WhatsApp and its clients include


, HDFC Bank, Citibank,


and other retail and e-commerce companies.

Sundararajan said WhatsApp began discussions on this update with partners like him in October last year. He said he didn’t think the new privacy policy would be released like this.

“There is no opt out in this policy. I thought they would have given users the option but they have decided to issue it to every user. I think they are being extra careful and covering themselves,” he added.

Sundararajan, who has worked with WhatsApp’s legal team in the US, said currently, 90% of WhatsApp’s business messaging is handled by external partners like Gupshup.

“But they have been thinking of how they can help smaller businesses get on to WhatsApp directly. All the partners may not have the reach to go to a small business.So they have been grappling with this problem of how do they make WhatsApp a business communication solution,” he added.

The privacy update and new terms of service have raised concerns among users in India, WhatsApp’s biggest market and around the world on how much data WhatsApp intends to share with parent Facebook.

“Just like Facebook shares a lot of meta data with marketers, they could do that with WhatsApp messaging too but users who are not okay with that can say I don’t want to interact with businesses on WhatsApp that use this Facebook hosting,” said Sundararajan.

“Users can say I will not include businesses in my contact list and they can block their messages. Enterprises can continue to use their on premise or any other solution that they are using currently for enterprise messaging with partners like us. There will be no change in the underlying policy or technology for those businesses,” he added.

In a blog post on January 4, WhatsApp said that sharing data with Facebook will help “personalization” of content and the display of relevant advertisements across the group’s multiple social platforms. Users who don’t accept the updated privacy policy, which comes into force in February, won’t be able to access chats on the platform.

WhatsApp reiterated its stance on privacy through new clarifications on Tuesday stating it wants to address some rumors and be ‘100% clear’ that it continues to protect private messages with end-to-end encryption.

The company said it cannot see users’ private messages or hear their calls and neither can Facebook and that it will not share user contacts with Facebook.

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