WhatsApp Gives Itself More Personalised Audience with its Debut on WhatsApp Status

Should WhatsApp Users Be Worried about its Latest Privacy Policy Updates?

Whatsapp is now on Whatsapp Status. This is coming on the heels of the debacle surrounding the company’s privacy policy announcements which has prompted people to consider switching to other instant messaging platforms like Signal.

Whatsapp showed up on the Status list this morning, prominently displayed at the top. Its debut message was the same it has been trying to pass for a while; Whatsapp is not snooping in on people’s chats and conversations. Weeks ago, reports made the rounds about a new privacy policy that showed Whatsapp could be collecting and sharing personal details such as phone number, bank account, phone model of its users with Facebook and other third-party companies.

According to the messaging giant, users must either agree to the policy updates or exit the app. While there’s no significant evidence to suggest users have been exiting the app, there are huge indications that they have been switching communication to other apps like Signal and Telegram since Whatsapp’s ultimatum.

Whatsapp is clearly uncomfortable with the exodus of users to other apps and has launched a damage control campaign to let users know that they won’t be snooping on calls and conversations; they will just be collecting and sharing personal data… which they have always done anyway.

Joining its huge user base through Status looks like the company’s latest attempt to directly engage with its audience and explain that their privacy is still intact and will not be intruded upon.

Access to an audience of 2 billion users

Stats show that Whatsapp has more than 2 billion active users from 180 countries around the world. That is a huge audience base for targeted advertising. Considering that the company could know the make and model of a user’s phone, as well as the bank account details of those who carry out transactions over Whatsapp, it becomes easy to predict who can afford what services and to advertise those services to them.

While we are used to Facebook and Google adverts, we are not quite used to seeing them on WhatsApp yet. At least not from the company itself. And the chances of that happening just increased.

Whatsapp status
Source: Twitter

The WhatsApp status update appears first and at the top of the status list which means you cannot miss it. I tried muting it for some time and as expected I was unable to, which means that it has to be viewed before it can leave your list.

WhatsApp status disappears moments after viewed, which may mean that the company does not intend to keep its own status updates at the top indefinitely. Just like every other update, WhatsApp’s status is relegated down to the “Viewed Updates” section where it would remain until its expiration.

While it isn’t clear how long an old status would be live, what is certain is that you will be hearing from Whatsapp more frequently through its own status updates and these updates may turn to ads in the future.

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