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According to a report in the Guardian, so many people decided to leave the messaging app that WhatsApp has decided to pause the introduction of its new terms, which were due to start on 8 February, to start a 'damage limitation campaign' so it can explain to users what the new changes were and what they would mean.
A privacy update from WhatsApp had asked all users to accept the new terms by 8 February but the company has since said it will 'go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options available on May 15'.
Users were concerned that the updates would mean that their data was shared with Facebook - WhatsApp's owner -and, as a result, many people left the app and turned to rival message apps including Signal and Telegram.
WhatsApp has said this isn't the case, but it seems as though some damage has already been done.
According to App Annie, an analytics company that tracks apps, WhatsApp went from being the UK's eight most downloaded app at the start of this month to the 23rd most popular on 12 January.
In a blog to try and clear matters up, WhatsApp wrote: "We've heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update.
"There's been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts.
"WhatsApp was built on a simple idea: what you share with your friends and family stays between you.
"This means we will always protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption, so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see these private messages.
"It's why we don't keep logs of who everyone's messaging or calling. We also can't see your shared location and we don't share your contacts with Facebook.
"With these updates, none of that is changing."
The post goes on to stress: "This update does not expand our ability to share data with Facebook."
Before adding: "WhatsApp helped bring end-to-end encryption to people across the world and we are committed to defending this security technology now and in the future."
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