The WhatsApp messaging application is seen on a phone screen Photograph:( AFP )
The California giant last month delayed the implementation of a new policy which critics said could expand data collection from some two billion WhatsApp users around the world.
Even with the delay in place, the policy caused an uproar and prompted a surge in interest in rival messaging services such as Signal and Telegram.
A WhatsApp blog post cited "confusion" over the policy update and maintained that it "does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook."
The update concerns how merchants using WhatsApp to chat with customers can share data with Facebook, which could use the information for targeted ads, according to the social network. The policy will be reviewed and won't be implemented before May 15, according to the company.
WhatsApp has detailed what will happen to users who won`t agree to new privacy changes through a mail which explains that it will slowly ask such users to comply with the new terms in order to have full functionality of the messaging service till its deadline.
"If the user will not accept the terms, for a short time, these users will be able to receive calls and notifications, but will not be able to read or send messages from the app."
Tech Crunch reported that the short time of asking users to comply with the norms would span ahead for a few weeks and for the inactive users, its policy will apply after May 15. Usually, according to the WhatsApp policy, the accounts of inactive users get deleted automatically after 120 days of inactivity.
Tech Crunch quoted, "Since 2016, WhatsApp`s privacy policies have granted the service permission to share with Facebook certain metadata such as user phone numbers and device information. The new terms will allow Facebook and WhatsApp to share payment and transaction data in order to help them better target ads as the social juggernaut broadens its e-commerce offerings and looks to merge its messaging platforms."
New model for Facebook
WhatsApp, acquired in 2014 for some $19 billion -- the largest sale of a venture-backed firm at the time -- is seen as a strategic asset for Facebook as it faces slowing growth for its core social network and looks to expand its offerings for connecting users and businesses.
The controversy comes as Facebook seeks to integrate its "family" of applications with a common technology and provide more ways for people and businesses to connect, while US antitrust enforcers meanwhile press to "unwind" Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram.