WhatsApp added biometric authentication for the phones to ensure there are no security issues and user’s private messages and data are secure. The move was appreciated by the users who liked the extra privacy protection option. As the changes were positively received by most users, WhatsApp had decided to launch the same biometric authentication options for logging in to the desktop app as well. But there was no official announcement on when those changes will be introduced.
WhatsApp now has come up with an extra biometric authentication step for users who want to link their WhatsApp account to a computer’s web browser or desktop app which will make the entire process a bit more secure. Users who have enabled the biometric authentication on their phones will be required to unlock the app on their devices before they can link their account.
The new system will ensure that no one can link someone else’s WhatsApp to their web browser. It will protect user data from being accessed by someone else. WhatsApp users don’t need to do anything the new system will be enabled by default on any Android device with biometric authentication and any iPhone device running iOS 14 with either Face ID or Touch ID. It means that the user will have to link their accounts unless they disable the biometric authentication for the entire device. People who don’t have biometric authentication on their phones can link their accounts like they usually do.
Just like any other biometric security that you can find on other devices, the new system introduced by WhatsApp does not mean that it is collecting or accessing user fingerprint or facial data. WhatsApp uses the same biometric data APIs that are used by any other security system.
So just like using your fingerprint to access any other service does not mean that one is giving up their fingerprint data, in the same way, using WhatsApp’s biometric authentication is safe and secure. The recent privacy issues faced by the company have been quite detrimental to the reputation of WhatsApp. So, the new changes that try to protect user data must be welcomed. With the growing stress of social media companies, it is the right move for WhatsApp to ensure that users feel safe while using their services.
Will the new changes introduced by WhatsApp to protect user privacy help restore its reputation or will we see a shift of a significant number of WhatsApp users to other messaging apps like Signal or Telegram? Although it is tough to predict, the damage done by privacy concerns is irreversible. WhatsApp can only afford damage control and expect that the users who have stuck around feel safe.