WhatsApp CEO accuses Apple of contradicting itself on Privacy

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Will Cathcart, CEO of WhatsApp (a company owned by Facebook) in an interview with Big Technology Podcast talked about the section dedicated to privacy information on the product pages on the App Store, with this new sort of privacy nutrition label that Apple requires to indicate to provide users with a simple view summary of the privacy practices adopted by the developer.

The CEO of WhatsApp, in line with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook who have long lined up against Apple on various privacy issues, talks about the difference in how Apple’s and third-party apps are treated.

“You don’t see privacy labels for iMessage when you download it, because it can’t be downloaded, it’s been on the phone from the start and we are therefore critical of it. “It’s on their website if you can find it.”

But even here, reports Cathcart, there is a comparison on an unequal basis. “We use financial information on payments because – if you want to use it – we have an optional feature for payments in India. Apple offers payment features and you can send money to friends via iMessage. Our privacy label says “Financial Information,” iMessage’s does not; “what is the difference? Why does ours report it and theirs doesn’t?”.

The interview – writes 9to5Mac – was done before Apple announced the existence of their site’s dedicated web page with privacy information for all its apps, but it probably changes little for Cathcart’s arguments.

The CEO of WhatsApp was also asked about the ongoing clash between Apple and Facebook, in particular about the statement by Mark Zuckerberg who spoke of the Cupertino company as “one of Facebook’s biggest competitors”. Cathcart explained that it’s obviously in Apple’s interest for everyone to use iPhones because the messaging experience works best on iMessage if everyone has an iPhone. “If people switch to something like WhatsApp or other services, it’s easy to go back and forth between iPhone and Android. I use Android: when people put me in an iMessage group it is a kind of agony, a strange experience. You can’t even like it. […] You can’t even make a group call.

He says it is in Apple’s strategic interest not to entice users to use apps like WhatsApp because they don’t want users to use Android. “I use Android because if you look at the WhatsApp user base, we are heavily tied to Android. I also have an iPad, I have used the iPhone for many years, but I want to actually use the product that most users use and therefore I use Android. A lot of people use both of them or go back and forth with one and the other because we build our products for both and you can understand them all. “

As for the controversy over the changes to the privacy policy that made more than one person worry, giving the impression that the information was shared with companies, the CEO of WhatsApp confirms that the update of the information does not concern in any way the privacy of messages exchanged with friends and family and that the changes concern the exchange of messages with companies, an optional service, and which concerns greater transparency on how data is collected and used.

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