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WhatsApp Image Credit: AP

Washington:  Reiterating its commitment to the privacy of users, WhatsApp announced an update in its terms of services and privacy policy related to businesses and customers on the instant messaging platform.

"Our commitment to your privacy isn't changing. Your personal conversations are still protected by end-to-end encryption, which means no one outside of your chats, not even WhatsApp or Facebook, can read or listen to them," said WhatsApp in a statement.

New features

The new features of the platform include customers who can message businesses to ask questions, make purchases, and get information and simplification of the layout of the Privacy Policy, making it easier for users to navigate.

WhatsApp further added that neither it nor Facebook can see the content shared by a user with family and friends, including personal messages and calls, shared attachments or locations.

"We do not retain your messages in the ordinary course of providing our Services to you. Instead, your messages are stored on your device and not typically stored on our servers. Once your messages are delivered, they are deleted from our servers," said the messaging platform in its new privacy policy.

"Safety, security and integrity are an integral part of our Services. We use information we have to verify accounts and activity; combat harmful conduct; protect users against bad experiences and spam; and promote safety, security and integrity on and off our Services, such as by investigating suspicious activity or violations of our Terms and policies, and to ensure our Services are being used legally," it added.

Additional privacy features, such as setting messages to disappear and controlling who can add a user to groups, give you an added layer of privacy, mentioned WhatsApp.

This roll-out is announced days after the Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Facebook and WhatsApp and sought their response on a plea challenging WhatsApp's latest privacy policy which was introduced in January this year in India.

"There is a concern that circuit of messages is revealed by WhatsApp," the apex court observed.

During the hearing, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Arvind Datar appearing for WhatsApp and Facebook respectively denied the allegations and called this "misinformation".

No deletions

The petitioner of the case sought guidelines to safeguard the personal data and privacy of over 400 million Indian WhatsApp users.

It had sought an interim stay on the operation of the new Privacy Policy of WhatsApp. The plea stated that the 2021 policy of WhatsApp is "highly invasive and has been unilaterally forced upon Indian internet users".

In January, WhatsApp had introduced its privacy policy mandating its users to accept its terms and conditions, failing which the accounts and services would be terminated after February 8, 2021, for the respective user.

After facing criticism over the privacy policy, WhatsApp took to micro-blogging site Twitter to clarify that "no one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8 and we will be moving back our business plans until after May."