WhatsApp launches global ad campaign after backlash over privacy policy

Monday, 14th June 2021, 11:10 am
WhatsApp has launched a new ad campaign in the UK and Germany, which it says has been designed to reiterate its “commitment to privacy” (Photo: Shutterstock)

WhatsApp has launched a new ad campaign in the UK and Germany, which it says has been designed to reiterate its “commitment to privacy”.

This comes in response to several months of uncertainty around the app, after the announcement of a privacy policy update earlier this year which caused confusion and concern among some users over possible increased data sharing.

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'We’re going to communicate to people the benefits of privacy and encryption directly'

WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart said the incident earlier this year had in part led to the creation of a privacy-focused marketing campaign around the platform, which will include online, radio, TV and digital outdoor advertising.

The marketing campaign is set to run internationally, beginning in the UK and Germany on Monday (14 June).

The campaign is also a chance for the company to make its case for using encryption, as WhatsApp messages can only be read on the device which sends one and the device which receives it.

WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart said: “The idea is we’re going to communicate to people the benefits of privacy and encryption directly.

“What we’re really trying to do here is take end-to-end encryption, which is an abstract term, and help translate it to people.

“We view this as underscoring our commitment to privacy and encryption at a time which we think is particularly relevant because there continue to be attacks on it in some parts of the world, so we think it’s particularly important that consumers understand what it is and what’s at stake.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel has previously criticised Facebook’s plans to expand the end-to-end encryption already in use on WhatsApp to the messaging sections of its other apps – Instagram and Facebook Messenger.

She has argued that it puts children at risk and offers a hiding place for abusers and other criminals.

In response to WhatsApp’s campaign, the Home Office said the Government is in favour of strong encryption to protect citizens from harm online, but that it is concerned that Facebook’s implementation of the technology will blind law enforcement’s ability to access content.

Ms Patel said: “Social media companies like WhatsApp have a moral duty to protect children from horrific abuse on their platforms.

“Facebook’s end-to-end encryption plans will be detrimental to law enforcement’s ability to tackle this abuse, as well as the risk posed by terrorists who wish to inflict maximum harm on the public.

“We must work together to find a mutually acceptable way to protect public safety without compromising user privacy.”