WhatsApp had threatened users who didn’t sign-up to the new small-print with losing access to core features, including the ability to reply to incoming text messages and calls. Eventually, the Facebook-owned app warned users that accounts would be deleted. However, following a mass exodus of users (so many left at one time that rival encrypted chat app Signal crashed due to the unprecedented demand of new users setting up accounts) WhatsApp decided to water down its threats.
Some details of these chats will be available to Facebook, although, this doesn’t apply to users in the UK or mainland Europe, thanks to legislation passed by the European Union pre-Brexit that limits this kind of inter-operability for firms like Facebook.
In an attempt to reassure users following the months of uncertainty and bitterness, WhatsApp says its new campaign is designed to reiterate its “commitment to privacy”.
That’s something that WhatsApp still has over many rivals – not least Facebook’s own Messenger service, which offers end-to-end encryption, but only when enabled for each conversation. If you forget to switch on the setting, dubbed Secret Conversations, any messages, stickers, or videos sent within the chat window could be intercepted by someone else on your Wi-Fi network. It also means the contents of the message are visible to Facebook.
The encrypted Secret Conversations mode doesn’t support group chats, voice or video calls, or GIFs, either.
In the first film, we see a couple on a double date sharing personal messages that help bring them closer together. In the second film, we see what happens when someone uses WhatsApp to privately land their dream job. These films are supported by a broad campaign online and out-of-home that show people that the messages they send to loved ones cannot be read by WhatsApp or its parent company, Facebook.
Over the course of the campaign, WhatsApp will highlight new privacy innovations like disappearing mode, which gives people choice over how long messages remain in their chats. Recently WhatsApp confirmed that it plans to expand the options for disappearing messages – which were first launched on WhatsApp last year – later this summer. These new privacy features are an important part of WhatsApp’s goal of making chats on WhatsApp feel as close to in-person conversations as possible.
The three-phase campaign will run in the UK and Germany from June 14, 2021. The campaign will run online, across radio and broadcast and digital outdoor.