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WhatsApp CEO reassures users it won't share data with Facebook after acquisition

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Facebook-WhatsappThere have been a number of reports about how WhatsApp would change after its acquisition by Facebook is completed and concerns about the privacy of user data WhatsApp would share with Facebook. It seems that WhatsApp CEO Jan Kaum has had enough of these speculative reports. In a blog post on the official WhatsApp blog, Koum “set the record straight” and clarified to everyone that the company won’t change and that privacy of users data would remain crucial. Also Read - WhatsApp multi-device feature beta starts rolling out for all iOS users: Report

Also Read - WhatsApp voice transcription feature could launch soon: How it will work

“Above all else, I want to make sure you understand how deeply I value the principle of private communication. For me, this is very personal. I was born in Ukraine, and grew up in the USSR during the 1980s. One of my strongest memories from that time is a phrase I d frequently hear when my mother was talking on the phone: This is not a phone conversation; I ll tell you in person. The fact that we couldn t speak freely without the fear that our communications would be monitored by KGB is in part why we moved to the United States when I was a teenager,” Koum wrote in the post. Also Read - WhatsApp announces rollout of end-to-end encrypted backups for Android, iOS

Earlier last month, in an interview with BGR India, Koum had identified the user information WhatsApp stored on its servers. “We only keep your phone number, carrier and any additional things you might have mentioned in your WhatsApp profile. We store only the phone numbers from your phone book, he’d told us.

Koum reiterated that point again in the blog post. “Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible: You don t have to give us your name and we don t ask for your email address. We don t know your birthday. We don t know your home address. We don t know where you work. We don t know your likes, what you search for on the Internet or collect your GPS location. None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that.”

He also emphasizes that the deal with Facebook is a partnership and none of the principles will change. “If partnering with Facebook meant that we had to change our values, we wouldn t have done it. Instead, we are forming a partnership that would allow us to continue operating independently and autonomously. Our fundamental values and beliefs will not change. Our principles will not change. Everything that has made WhatsApp the leader in personal messaging will still be in place. Speculation to the contrary isn t just baseless and unfounded, it s irresponsible. It has the effect of scaring people into thinking we re suddenly collecting all kinds of new data. That s just not true, and it s important to us that you know that.”

Last week a report had indicated that WhatsApp’s security might not be foolproof and it could be possible for other apps to glean off data stored on a phone from WhatsApp and use it. However, WhatsApp downplayed the report and blamed it on Android malware and said that the latest version of the app had been addressed in the latest update.

WhatsApp has been under the spotlight after Facebook announced its plans to acquire the messaging service for a whopping $19 billion. WhatsApp said it had 465 million monthly active users on February 24.

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  • Published Date: March 18, 2014 12:05 AM IST



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