Facebook Brings Same World-Class Privacy to Messenger, WhatsApp: Zuckerberg

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the fourth quarter earnings call on Wednesday said that the company brings the “same world-class privacy features” to WhatsApp and Messenger. Zuckerberg said that the “biggest difference between Messenger and WhatsApp is, obviously, the connection to Facebook and the kind of same identity” that people use on Facebook carries over to Messenger. Crucially, Zuckerberg also said that the company has “a lot of competitors who make claims about privacy that are often misleading” and that “WhatsApp is clearly superior.” In early January, WhatsApp unveiled a new privacy policy update initially said to be effective from February. However, the company faced a backlash post the policy update leading to the users downloading alternate applications such as Signal and Telegram.

Zuckerberg Says WhatsApp Policy Update Does Not Change Privacy of Messages

Zuckerberg said that WhatsApp is an “important” part of the company’s strategy with “more than 175 million people” communicating with a WhatsApp business account each single day.

“We're building new features to make it even easier to transact with businesses in the app,” Zuckerberg said in the earnings call on Wednesday. “We introduced carts, which lets people browse catalogs, select multiple products, and send the order as a message to a business. The more people that interact with businesses, the better tools we’re going to need to provide for businesses to help them support their customers.”

The Facebook CEO said that the company is “building tools to let businesses store and manage their WhatsApp chats using our secure hosting infrastructure if they would like.” Crucially, Zuckerberg said that the privacy policy update unveiled by WhatsApp in January reflects the “optional experiences.”

“To clarify some confusion that we’ve seen, this update does not change the privacy of anyone's messages with friends and family,” Zuckerberg said in the earnings call on Wednesday. “All of these messages are end-to-end encrypted, which means we can't see or hear what you say, and we never will unless the person you messaged chooses to share it.”

Facebook to Make “Minimal” Functionality Enhancements to WhatsApp

With WhatsApp, Zuckerberg said that the company has “always focused a lot on making it a very utilitarian experience.”

“So we'll continue adding new functionality, but we're more focused on keeping that minimal," Zuckerberg said in the earnings call on Wednesday. "Whereas in Messenger, we have a lot more tools and features for expression and I would expect that we'll continue adding more there as well.”

The social networking company earlier in the day reported its financial results for the quarter and full year ended December 31, 2020, with Facebook registering US$28.1 billion in quarterly revenues. Facebook said that its daily active users (DAUs) were up 11% year-over-year (YoY) to 1.84 billion on average for December 2020. Further, the company said that it has 2.80 billion monthly active users (MAUs) as of December 31, 2020, translating to an 12% YoY increase.

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Born in India, Yogesh loves to travel and has lived in multiple countries including New Zealand and Canada. His bylines can be found on various newspapers and blogs throughout the world, including Vancouver Sun, Surrey Now-Leader, Daily Hive , Investing News Network and Rach F1.

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