On Wednesday, the front pages of several Indian newspapers, including the Times of India, The Hindu, and Deccan Herald, carried a big and bold advertisement from WhatsApp reiterating that "respect for your privacy" is in the app’s "DNA".
Netizens, who have already been grilling the app with questions over the mandatory policy update, have taken to social media to mock WhatsApp’s “desperate attempts” to win back the trust of its users.
WhatsApp is spooked. Full page ad in today's Times of India. pic.twitter.com/AXX5JhoD5v— Pradeep Ananth (@PradeepAnanth_) January 13, 2021
In the fight between WhatsApp and Privacy - as usual Times of India is the winner 🏆 pic.twitter.com/DLkgDBjP5f— Atul Khatri (@one_by_two) January 13, 2021
A full page front page ad in the times of India telling people Whatsapp respects privacy.. guess someone’s really worried.. pic.twitter.com/0yTImn0VKL— Nitish Phanse (@nitish24p) January 13, 2021
When you want to say ‘trust me’ you don’t use social media like, umm, WhatsApp. You use print. pic.twitter.com/J206xNikHV— Satbir Singh (@thesatbir) January 13, 2021
Indians start leaving the platform.
WhatsApp runs full-page ads on privacy.
Why would a “FREE” service spend so much money to retain users?
India needs stronger regulation to protect data.
What’s the govt doing? pic.twitter.com/G2DkKRxsT3
At the beginning of the week, when WhatsApp users in several countries, including India, the US, and the UK, among others, woke up to its privacy update notification – they realised that they only had two options – either accept the updates or delete their accounts.
The update, which claimed that for business accounts WhatsApp shares data with Facebook’s e-commerce services like Shops to personalise users’ shopping experience, has stirred preference for other messaging apps like Telegram and Signal – as netizens began encouraging each other to get off WhatsApp.
In a bid to handle the situation before it worsens, on 12 January, WhatsApp posted a detailed explanation on its webpage claiming that neither the app itself, nor its parent company Facebook can read messages or listen to calls shared and facilitated via the app.
The popular app, used by two billion users worldwide, also explained that it does not store message and call logs, while highlighting that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see locations exchanged among users on the platform.