When Facebook acquired WhatsApp in March 2014, there were concerns that the company’s thirst to know everything about everyone would trickle down into the app and jeopardise the privacy of its users. In response, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum said in a blog post that the partnership wouldn’t compromise the app’s security-focused ethos.”Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible,” he wrote at the time. “If partnering with Facebook meant that we had to change our values, we wouldn’t have done it. Instead, we are forming a partnership that would allow us to continue operating independently and autonomously. Our fundamental values and beliefs will not change.”Two years on and it appears that WhatsApp is slackening its stance on the matter. The changes come as the app tries to bring businesses into the fold and let them connect with its global, multi-million user install base. As part of this, WhatsApp plans to explore different ways marketers – including the collection of businesses owned by Facebook –can communicate with users via the app.
Southern Poverty Law Center
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