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'Won't Be Arm-Twisted': Indians Irritated With WhatsApp's Privacy Policy Acceptance Reminders

© AFP 2022 / SAJJAD HUSSAINAn advertisement from WhatsApp is seen in a newspaper at a stall in New Delhi on January 13, 2021
An advertisement from WhatsApp is seen in a newspaper at a stall in New Delhi on January 13, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 08.03.2021
At the beginning of January, WhatsApp rolled out a privacy policy notification to let users know how and when their data is being used by the app. The update stirred a major controversy among over two billion global users who were concerned about their privacy being breached.

WhatsApp has begun reminding users in India that they need to press "ok" to the notification in the next seven days. Users who fail to accept WhatsApp's new privacy policy will have to delete their accounts – as per the app's present rule.

This reminder comes after WhatsApp was forced to push the acceptance date for the mandatory policy update to 15 March following a severe backlash.

(FILES) This file photo taken on October 5, 2020 shows the logo of mobile messaging service WhatsApp on a tablet screen in Toulouse, southwestern France - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.01.2021
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The in-app reminders have seemingly begun to irritate India's over 400 million WhatsApp users, many of whom have shared screenshots of the notifications on social media.

Indian WhatsApp users took to Twitter to state that they will not let the app "arm twist" them into accepting its privacy policy.

​Explaining its privacy policy, WhatsApp published a blog post in January noting that personal chats between users on the app remain end-to-end encrypted and secure. The app, however, revealed to its users that its 2018-launched app "WhatsApp Business" shares some user data with Facebook to personalise the online shopping experience between merchants and buyers.

A WhatsApp advertisement is seen on the front pages of newspapers at a stall in Mumbai, India, January 13, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.02.2021
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In India, 82 percent WhatsApp users are inclined against the app's privacy policy, a study by Indian market research firm Better World–BM Nxt recently revealed.

The Indian government wrote a strongly worded letter to Will Cathcart, the global CEO of WhatsApp in January, in which it noted that WhatsApp must give users an option to not accept the policy update.

At present, WhatsApp's stance on the mandatory nature of its policy update remains unchanged.

In a bid to assure users that their personal chats remain protected without any data being collected, WhatsApp has resorted to various measures in recent months, including posting full page newspaper ads, adding "review policy" banners on the app, and publishing blog posts as well as rolling out official status updates on its app around the world.

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