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Thursday 30th March, 2023

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WhatsApp Responds To Concerns Over Privacy Policy Update

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WhatsApp this week published an FAQ clarifying the terms of its updated privacy policy and responding to concerns that the firm behind the text-messaging app shares personal information with parent company Facebook.

WhatsApp noted the update doesn’t affect the privacy of messages with friends and family, and instead relates to messaging businesses through the platform, according to a report by CNET.

The company also said the update “provides further transparency about how we collect and use data.”

WhatsApp emphasized that neither it nor Facebook can see users’ private messages or hear their calls, noting that it also doesn’t keep logs of who people message or call, can’t see your shared location (neither can Facebook), doesn’t share users’ contacts with Facebook and keeps WhatsApp groups private, according to the FAQ.

The publication of the FAQ follows calls from privacy advocates, concerned users and, notably, Elon Musk, to ditch the Facebook-owned messaging app and instead opt for encrypted messaging apps like Signal.

WhatsApp says personal messages are also protected by end-to-end encryption, but it has for years openly collected certain user data to share with Facebook.

Telegram, another secure messaging app, on Tuesday said it surpassed 500 million active users. It noted that in just the last 72 hours, it gained more than 25 million new global users.

Under WhatsApp’s privacy policy, businesses have the option to use “secure hosting services from Facebook to manage WhatsApp chats with their customers, answer questions, and send helpful information like purchase receipts,” WhatsApp says.

If you communicate with a business, it can see what you’re saying and then use that information for marketing, which could include advertising on Facebook.

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WhatsApp says it clearly labels conversations with businesses that use Facebook’s hosting services.

Additionally, for users who interact with Facebook’s Shops commerce feature via WhatsApp, their shopping activity can be used to display related ads on Facebook and Instagram.

WhatsApp says this feature is optional and that when you use it, “we will tell you in the app how your data is being shared with Facebook.”

Lastly, if you find an ad on Facebook with the option to message a business through WhatsApp and then do so, Facebook could use the way you interact with that ad to show more related ads on the social platform.

WhatsApp head Will Cathcart tweeted on Friday: “With end-to-end encryption, we cannot see your private chats or calls and neither can Facebook. We’re committed to this technology and committed to defending it globally.”

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Meta To Spend $14million On Mark Zuckerberg’s Personal Security

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Mark Zuckerberg, META CEO

Meta says it is increasing the amount of money it spends on Mark Zuckerberg’s personal security by $4 million, taking the total to $14 million.

Techspot reports that this comes as the company eliminates thousands of jobs and its CEO talks about 2023 being the “year of efficiency.”

Meta revealed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the annual pre-tax allowance to cover Zuckerberg’s security costs has increased from $10 million, which had stayed the same since 2018, to $14 million.

Last week, Meta’s board of directors decided that the 40% increase was “appropriate and necessary under the circumstances.”

Meta said that the higher amount was “to address safety concerns due to specific threats to his safety arising directly as a result of his position as Meta’s founder, Chairman, and CEO.”

The $14 million per year is to pay for “additional personnel, equipment, services, residential improvements, or other security-related costs” for Zuckerberg and his family.

That’s a lot of money, but the final figure for keeping Meta’s CEO safe will be even higher as the filing doesn’t include other security expenses.

Last year, the company spent $16.8 million protecting Zuck on top of the $10 million allowance for a total of $26.8 million, and it spent $23.44 million protecting its founder in 2020.

Most big tech companies spend a lot of money keeping their CEOs and other top execs safe, but Zuckerberg’s costs exceed all others by a wide margin.

Meta spending millions of dollars to keep its boss and his family safe is unlikely to please the 11,000 people the company has laid off recently, a move that the CEO took accountability for.

ALSO READ  WhatsApp Adds New Status Features

Zuckerberg’s talk of Meta becoming leaner while calling 2023 the “year of efficiency” now rings slightly hollow, too.

Meta’s filing also notes that its founder has a salary of just $1 per year, but his shares in the company mean his earnings are much higher.

Zuckerberg might not be in Bloomberg’s top ten billionaires list anymore, but his $64.2 billion fortune makes him the 18th richest person in the world.

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WhatsApp Adds New Status Features

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Meta is adding several new features to WhatsApp status, which lets users post disappearing pictures and other media, reports The Verge.

Once the features roll out over the coming weeks, you’ll be able to react to people’s posts with an emoji, limit who can see your status, and post voice messages.

According to an announcement post, the status emoji reactions work similar to how they do on Instagram; when you swipe up on the post, you get the option to choose from one of eight emojis. (The options are 😍,😂,😮,😥,🙏,👏,🎉, and 💯.)

While a WhatsApp blog post calls emoji reactions the No. 1 requested feature after it launched the ability to react to messages last year, analysts feel the Private Audience Selector is the most useful addition announced today.

The feature lets you change who can see your statuses, with the option to show it to everyone, hide it from certain contacts, or only show it to specific people.

According to Meta, the options you pick will be the default for the next status you post, but you’ll be able to change it without changing the visibility of past statuses.

Other features are small quality-of-life improvements. Statuses that include links will also be more visually appealing — Meta says there’ll now be previews for the site or page that the link will take you to.

WhatsApp is also trying to make it clearer when people post status by adding a ring around their profile picture in the chat lists, group participant lists, and contact info screens.

ALSO READ  WhatsApp: You May Soon Retrieve Deleted Messages, Group Admins May Also Delete Messages For Everyone

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Meta To Open Operation Centre For 2023 Elections In Nigeria

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Meta has announced plans to activate an elections operations centre for the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook stated that it was investing in people and technology to reduce the spread of misinformation and remove harmful content across its apps.

This it said is to help ensure a safe and secure general election in the country.

The social media giant disclosed this in a post titled, ‘How Meta is Preparing for Nigeria’s 2023 General Elections’ by its Head of Public Policy for Anglophone West Africa, Adaora Ikenze.

It stated that its work towards the elections would continue in the lead-up to, during, and after the vote.

“As Election Day approaches, we will activate a Nigeria-specific Elections Operations Centre focused on identifying potential threats across our apps and technologies in real-time, accelerating our response time.

“This initiative will bring together experts from across our company on our intelligence, data science, engineering, research, operations, public policy and legal teams,” the statement disclosed.

Meta explained that part of its strategy to combat misinformation and false news would involve removing serious kinds of misinformation from Facebook and Instagram, such as content that could contribute to imminent violence or physical harm, or intended to suppress voting.

It stated that for the Nigerian elections, it would remove photos and videos shared out of context that falsely depict ballot stuffing, acts of violence, or weapons.

It said that it was working with independent fact-checking organisations such as AFP, Africa Check, Dubawa, and Reuters.

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