WhatsApp Privacy Policy Changes 2021

After the news in January about the WhatsApp privacy policy changes 2021, users have mixed concerns about the application. Whatsapp sent an in-app notification to its users about this huge change that can surely impact the business.

What has WhatsApp Done?

Since WhatsApp is now under Facebook Inc, the former collects and shares user information with other companies owned by the latter. These include Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, etc. The update was made mandatory for all users, therefore, they cannot opt-out. If users choose to agree to the new terms, they will lose access to their WhatsApp accounts.

Moreover, since this is a huge change regarding privacy concerns and it affects the current 2 billion users, WhatsApp is delaying this update. As it’s still not clear on the specific changes, people expect it to retain its original setup where conversations are end-to-end encrypted. Meanwhile, it is not surprising that Signal gained 7.5 million new users across the globe while Telegram gained 25 million. Just imagine how many users have left WhatsApp in 2021.

In line with this, Real Research conducted a public poll to find out how the changes in WhatsApp’s privacy policy affected its users. Did they switch to another messaging application? We will see if they agree, in the updated privacy policy, users’ messages and information can be handed over to Facebook. Furthermore, we will also find out their opinion on WhatsApp can be done to control the damage and avoid losing more users.


  • Over 40% stopped using WhatsApp since the privacy policy update.
  • Most of the respondents switched to Telegram after knowing the WhatsApp change.
  • A majority said WhatsApp needs to adjust the terms to suit what the users want. 

From a total of 320,000 survey participants, the respondents consist of 72.91% being from those identifying as male while 18.70% consists of those identifying as female. Meanwhile, 20.58% of the responses said that they are under 20 years of age. 35.98% said that they are in their 20s, 23.81% in their 30s, 10.95% in their 40s, 5.07% in their 50s, and 3.61% are over the age of 60.

The majority (75.95%) of the respondents are currently using WhatsApp leaving only 24.05% not using the application.

If not using the app) Did you stop using WhatsApp after the privacy policy changes?
Figure 1. (If not using the app) Did you stop using WhatsApp after the privacy policy changes?

Of the respondents who said they no longer use Whatsapp, 40.20% said they quit the app since the update. On another note, 48.25% say they are still using the app. Meanwhile, only 11.55% said they never used WhatsApp.

In line with this, WhatsApp also lost millions of users after this big commotion. Respondents were asked if they are aware of this, over 68% of them said Yes. Meanwhile, there are still some people who are not aware of this major WhatsApp privacy change. Based on the findings, 31.18% of the respondents said they are not aware of this update.

These results could also mean that the high number of respondents who still use WhatsApp is relevant to the number of people who are not aware of the WhatsApp privacy changes.

Top 5 Alternatives to WhatsApp

Top 5 Alternatives to WhatsApp
Figure 2. If you did switch from Whatsapp to another instant messaging app, which app did you switch to?

The WhatsApp privacy policy update came off as very problematic for some. Hence, it comes as no surprise when some individuals made the switch to various other instant messaging apps.

As per this Real Research survey, it looks like most people switched to ‘Telegram’. With over 45.78%, respondents chose this app as their first choice for an alternative to WhatsApp. ‘Signal’ application came in second place with 16.64%, third is KakaoTalk with 5.94%, and lastly, Discord with 4.26%.

However, 16.34% answered that they are still using WhatsApp, and some others (3.47%) answered that they have never used the application.

Do you agree that in the updated privacy policy, users’ messages and information can be handed over to Facebook?
Figure 3. Do you agree with sharing WhatsApp’s user information with Facebook?

With the news that WhatsApp is now requiring users to share data with Facebook. Respondents were asked if they agree on this matter. 55.04% agree that in the updated privacy policy changes, users’ data can be handed over to Facebook. Meanwhile, only 25.05% of them disagree with this move.

It is a bit surprising to see that the majority is accepting of completely sharing their data with a major multi-billion dollar company. Perhaps they believe that their data is safe. However, some saw this as unlawful data sharing since they had no choice on the matter. New technology brings new opportunities, while some see them as ethical, others do not. This causes a rift and thus, brings about discord. In such cases, with new problems, laws can move slowly and the right to privacy can be lost.

How can WhatsApp Implement Damage Control?

In your opinion, what should WhatsApp do to control the damage and avoid losing more users?
Figure 4. In your opinion, what should WhatsApp do to control the damage and avoid losing more users?

Seemingly losing ground in major markets around the world, WhatsApp recently pushed the deadline to accept the new terms. It seems that the app is actively trying to implement damage control.  However, considering the update is already out, the app is simply only giving its users more time to understand the new policy.

In line with this, respondents shared their opinion on the matter. What do they think WhatsApp should do to control the damage and avoid losing more users?

Moreover, 27.78% of the respondents wanted WhatsApp to give an explanation to its users on what the update means. While 16.75% answered ‘I don’t know, 8.79% of them believe that WhatsApp should do nothing because eventually, users will adapt to these new terms.


From the data collected by Real Research, we can see that people just have a general concern if WhatsApp’s new policy is safe or not. Furthermore, the majority of them have switched to Telegram and Signal after hearing the news regarding WhatsApp’s privacy changes.

In conclusion, WhatsApp lost millions of users in this commotion. After this, WhatsApp keeps delaying the implementation of the update to control the damage. However, as WhatsApp is already an established messaging application, 48% of the respondents seem to retain using it. WhatsApp privacy policy changes 2021 received different opinions and everyone is still anticipating the detailed changes to the privacy policy.


Survey TitlePublic Perception on Effects of the WhatsApp Privacy Policy Update
DurationMarch 16th to 19th, 2021
Number of Participants320,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 19 to 60+
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, AzerbaijanBahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.