WhatsApp gives users more control over who can see their profile picture, about info, and last seen

Despite WhatsApp’s claims, about 53% of Indian users have reported seeing advertisements based on their phone conversations, a survey has found.

whatsapp privacy policy update last seen about info
WhatsApp has also found itself in the midst of a Competition Commission of India probe into alleged anti-trust practices. (Reuters)

Meta Platforms-owned messaging platform WhatsApp has updated its privacy control settings, giving users more control over who can see their profile picture, about info, and last seen status.

The privacy settings can be adjusted to control who sees what information — last seen, profile picture, about info, or status — among the following options: everyone, all contacts, selected contacts, and nobody.

“When you share a chat, photo, video, file or voice message with someone else on WhatsApp, they’ll have a copy of these messages. They’ll have the ability to forward or share these messages with others if they choose to, ” the messaging platform said in a blog post.

“We encourage you to think carefully before you decide to share something with your WhatsApp contacts. Consider whether you would want others to see what you’ve sent.”

However, despite WhatsApp’s claims about privacy protection, about 53% of Indian users have reported seeing advertisements based on their phone conversations, a survey has found. The survey also indicated that the majority of Indian users had given microphone access for calls, social media, and audio recording third-party apps.

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, aimed at providing legislative and statutory protection to personal information is still to be signed into law. The Bill recognises protecting the individual data as a right.

WhatsApp has also found itself in the midst of a Competition Commission of India probe into alleged anti-trust practices. However, reports suggest that the probe was facing delays as the messaging company was reluctant to provide information on its new privacy policy.

The fair trade regulator commissioned the investigation in March 2021 but the company is yet to supply documents sought nor respond to the observations made. The reports suggest that the company would not provide its views on the subject until the Parliament passes the new data privacy law.

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