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The social networking application Whatsapp has announced this Friday that it will postpone a change in its rules on information sharing in the face of its users fleeing to rivals such as Telegram or Signal.
"We are postponing the date when people will be asked to review and accept the new terms," Facebook's Whatsapp said in a blog post.
The company cancelled the February 8 deadline for users to accept the new rules, which include sharing their information with Facebook servers.
The change will be thoroughly reviewed and was delayed until May 15. The new terms were rejected by users outside of Europe who do not accept that a deadline be imposed on them to cut off their service.
The change relates to the way merchants who use Whatsapp to contact customers can share the data with Facebook, which can in turn use the information for profiled advertising, according to the social network.
"We can't see your private messages or listen to your calls, nor can Facebook. "We don't keep track of user activity on messaging or calls. We can't see their location and neither can Facebook," Whatsapp said in a previous post.
According to Whatsapp, the location information and message content is encrypted from end to end.
#WhatsApp delays Privacy changes due to users backlash..
"We are giving companies the option to use Facebook's secure data storage services to manage conversations with their customers, answer questions and send useful information such as purchase receipts," explained Whatsapp.
That said, the company acknowledged that this may result in advertising on behalf of Facebook.
As a result, the rival Telegram application has seen a marked increase in users since Whatsapp's announcement, said founder Pavel Durov.
Durov, 36, of Russian origin, said on his Telegram channel this week that the application reached 500 million active users per month in the first weeks of January and "25 million new users in the last 72 hours."
"People no longer want to trade their privacy for free services," Durov told AFP without referring to his rival.
Meanwhile, Whatsapp assures that it has more than 2 billion users. India is Whatsapp's main market with 400 million users, but in the last few weeks millions of people switched to Telegram or Signal.
Similarly, Signal has also confirmed a rapid increase in users, helped in part by a tweet from the world's richest man, Elon Musk, who recommended it.