WhatsApp had announced that in December that it would be mandating its millions of users to accept new changes coming to the platform, but had delayed the move until now. The social media platform is apparently pushing ahead with its plans even though lawmakers and government agencies oppose the move.
WhatsApp said people are opposed to its proposed plans because of a campaign of misinformation making waves around the world.
Tech analysts said Facebook had always wanted to make WhatsApp another WeChat since it was acquired for $19 billion in 2014. Mark Zuckerberg had in 2014 pledged that WhatsApp would remain autonomous and its approach to user privacy data would remain unchanged, but this is obviously not the situation now and regulators are not finding this funny, the Guardian writes.
“We can’t keep letting the largest companies in the world, founded in the United States, break their promises,” said Rep. Lori Trahan. “Facebook should uphold their promise, and that of WhatsApp’s founders, to prioritize the privacy of their users.”
Part of Facebook’s proposed plans for WhatsApp is to enable users to interact with businesses so that their data could be used for ads targeting across Facebook properties. WhatsApp is also being planned to become a central app where users can make payments, order pizzas, procure major services, and do almost everything within exiting the app – just like TenCent has done with WeChat in China.
“Facebook has ambitious plans for expanding its messaging services to achieve what Tencent has done in China with WeChat, where people interact with businesses and shops, plus pay for goods and services using the messaging app,” said Martin Garner of CCS Insight. “WeChat also has its own mini-apps and games and has become an essential part of the fabric of day-to-day life there. Achieving this position would be a huge prize for Facebook.”
The proposal got many WhatsApp users angry early this year and many people switched over to competitors such as Telegram and Signal.
According to Facebook, users must begin to accept the updated WhatsApp terms from Saturday or risk losing their access to the app. Initially, they will be able to accept the new conditions if they want, but later they will be forced to do so since they won’t be able to dismiss the notification screen again. So it is either they accept the new terms or get locked out of the app for good.