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Fact-Check: Will WhatsApp new privacy policy mean your photos, messages can be used against you in a lawsuit?


Pascal Oparada

A viral WhatsApp message says the messaging platform will begin a new policy on January 18, 2021, where users are required to authorise the use of their data, including their profile photos, messages and even deleted ones against them in a court of law.

The message asked users to share to at least 10 groups to invalidate the new policy and free themselves from the possible consequences.

According to the message, a new icon will appear immediately the user has reached the 10 group sharing threshold.





Remember, tomorrow begins the new Whatsapp rule that allows you to use your photos !! Remember that the deadline is today !!! It can be used in lawsuits against you. Everything you’ve posted can be published starting today, even deleted messages. It costs nothing more than a simple copy/paste, better to be safe than to be violated.

I do not permit Whatsapp or any organization associated with Whatsapp, such as Facebook, and Instagram to use my images, information, messages, photos, deleted messages, files, etc.

This is real.

I share it!!!!!!!!

I do not authorize

Share it in 10 groups and a signal will appear on your Whatsapp like this: ✅ that means that your phone is protected against the new rule,” the message reads.

False Claims

The claim is false and does not represent WhatsApp’s latest privacy policy. Nowhere in the new privacy policy did the company say users’ data would be used against them in lawsuits. Also, the company said then that the new policy would take effect on February 8, 2021, and not January 18 as speculated.

What WhatsApp said

Earlier this month, WhatsApp released a new privacy policy where it asked users to agree to a new policy that allows sharing their data with Facebook, its parent company for advert targeting, among other things.

WhatsApp’s privacy policy says the user information it collects may be shared with other Facebook companies “to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings.”

However, after serious backlash which saw WhatsApp lose users to rivals in the US, Europe and elsewhere, the company backtracked and deferred the new policy to May 15 to allow users study it and make up their minds.

“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.

Encrypted Messages and Calls

Following a series of data scandals involving mostly Facebook and its family of apps, WhatsApp began encrypting users data in 2016. It means that messages and calls by users on the platform cannot be read by anyone,  not even WhatsApp.

The new policy does not negate its encrypted services but rather asks that users allow it to share their data like phone numbers and contacts and not messages, profile picture, or calls.