WHATSAPP has updated its message reporting policy to protect users’ privacy and safety.
WhatsApp users will now be able to report individual messages that they receive in WhatsApp group chats, as well as businesses, after much criticism.
Before the update, users were only able to report specific contacts to WhatsApp for investigation.
After reporting the contact, WhatsApp would automatically forward five of the last five messages between the user/offender back to the monitoring staff.
Members of the monitoring teams have access to private messages of the user when the messages are automatically forwarded.
Users can now choose to send specific messages to team members instead of just five messages.
This provides greater privacy for the billions who depend on the app for communication.
Earlier this month, ProPublica reporters came out with an investigation calling the Facebook-owned app out for “undermining privacy protections for its two billion WhatsApp users.”
The report cites evidence of WhatsApp sharing users’ data with governmental entities and other media platforms, without users’ permission.
The ProPublica article outlines just how much information was shared when users reported foul-play prior to the update. It’s much more than just five messages.
“It includes the names and profile images of a user’s WhatsApp groups as well as their phone number, profile photo, status message, phone battery level, language and time zone, unique mobile phone ID and IP address, wireless signal strength and phone operating system, as a list of their electronic devices, any related Facebook and Instagram accounts, the last time they used the app and any previous history of violations,” According to ProPublica’s investigation.
This update comes a few weeks after Mark Zuckerberg announced the app will be the first of its kind to offer end-to-end encryption for chat backups, addressing the increased scrutiny.
WhatsApp recently announced additional changes to its app.
Another upcoming update is expected to significantly improve the quality of the voice note feature by integrating a “listen-back” feature, allowing users to hear their voice messages after sending.