03:52 GMT24 January 2021
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    American tech wizard Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild Facebook, launched in 2005, has grown into a social networking empire over the years. Presently, Facebook as a brand has two other gigantic platforms – Instagram and WhatsApp – under its umbrella. The platforms however, are often scrutinised for their user data collection practices.

    Facebook-owned instant messaging app WhatsApp – that has around 1.5 billion monthly active users worldwide – on Wednesday began rolling out a notification informing users about some new policy changes. 

    The notification mentions key updates, such as how the company processes user data, how businesses can use Facebook-hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats and how the company partners with Facebook to offer integrations across the company products among other developments. The in-app notification has begun to pop-up on screens for Indian users as well.

    ​The update is mandatory and requires users to either accept the new terms and privacy policy to continue using the app or delete their accounts.

    Netizens have taken to Twitter to discuss Mark Zuckerberg's "pseudo-security" services - after Facebook, which owns WhatsApp and Instagram, has found itself in trouble multiple times over the years for leaking user data and collecting it unethically. Memes about WhatsApp’s new policy updates, that will go live on 8 January 2021, have flooded Twitter in India.

    ​Another peculiarity that caught the sharp gaze of netizens was that the privacy policy webpage of WhatsApp shows it was “last modified” on 8 January 2021 – that is two days after today.

    ​As far as the specifics are concerned, one of the many changes that the company has made details the information that it collects.

    “When a user forwards media within a message, we store that media temporarily in encrypted form on our servers to aid in more efficient delivery of additional forwards,” WhatsApp wrote.

    In addition to this, the messaging app has also detailed how it processes ‘Device and Connection Information’, ‘Location Information’ and ‘Transactions And Payments Data’.

    In November 2020, WhatsApp began rolling out its in-app instant payment service in India. The feature facilitates monetary transactions from within the app has reached around 20 million random Indian users in the first phase of its roll out.

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