Launched WhatsApp has a new advertising campaign to promote its privacy and security features, as it continues to face a backlash from both users and the public.
The ads stress the importance of end-to-end encryption, which is used to ensure that only the sender and recipient are able to read them.
As such, it is technically impossible for WhatsApp to see any messages that are sent through its application or made available to law enforcement or governments.
And in recent months, it has received constant criticism for updating its terms that have led users to believe their data is being shared with Facebook.
It has also been attacked by governments. But it argues that its strong security features mean that it protects people who use the app from misuse.
Will Cathcart, president of WhatsApp, said the company launched its first global advertising campaign in response to these challenges and to promote encryption as an essential technology for everyone who uses its messaging services.
He added: “End-to-end encryption means that if you send something to someone or say something to someone, no one else will be able to hear what you say or see what you say other than the person you sent it to.”
WhatsApp launches a privacy campaign:
Cathcart explained that encryption is an important tool for journalists, activists and whistleblowers, and he believes people understand that.
He noted the various uses of encryption, including protecting bank details, passwords, health information and payment data.
Cathcart admitted that launching the campaign was partly inspired by the introduction of WhatsApp’s new terms and the controversy over the relationship with Facebook that followed.
While WhatsApp said the new terms cover only a small amount of shopping information that can be shared with the parent company, users were concerned that the feature could mean sending their chats to Facebook.
He said of the controversy: We were not clear enough. And we became clearer when we saw the confusion. This “confusion was an additional reason for wanting to launch the campaign.
Cathcart noted that the confusion has largely dissipated, and that the vast majority of people have now accepted the new terms.
He explained that the campaign was launched in response to criticism of the encryption that came from people, including the British Home Secretary.
In addition to launching the campaign, Cathcart said the company is talking with governments around the world to make clear that encryption is beneficial and protects the security and safety of citizens in countries. And it’s essential if we want all of our lives to be digital over the next few years.
Cathcart recently unveiled a set of privacy-focused features. Including new tools that allow WhatsApp messages to delete themselves automatically.
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