WhatsApp announced on Friday that it will delay the update until May 15th, because of misinformation causing concern, stating “We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15.”

The public’s main concerns have been around location services, payments to institutions, all contacts and media sent to contacts. Answers to FAQs around WhatsApp’s privacy policy can be found here.

In the wake of global concern and discussion around WhatsApp’s privacy policy update, the South African Government’s Department of Justice & Constitutional Development will be reviewing the privacy policy in order to see if it complies with the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act for South African users.

The SA Department of Justice & Constitutional Development made the following statement:

“The Information Regulator met on 13 January 2021, to discuss the matter pertaining to the revised WhatsApp Privacy Policy which has consumed many social media users of the popular chat platforms WhatsApp and subsequently Facebook.

The Regulator has made contact with Facebook South Africa which has provided the Regulator with the WhatsApp privacy policy, which was revised on 04 January 2021. The engagements with Facebook South Africa are ongoing.

In terms of the revised policy, it appears that there are different terms of service and privacy policies for users in the European countries and in non-European Countries. The Regulator will be analysing whether the terms of service and the privacy policies indeed differ and whether the privacy policy applicable to users outside Europe, which include the South African users, are in compliance with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA).

The Regulator will engage with Facebook after the completion of the analysis.

The Regulator remains committed to ensuring the protection of personal information of South African citizens.”

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