If you’ve read the news – even in the mainstream – in the last week or two, you’d have heard about WhatsApp and its new privacy policy. Claimed to allow Facebook to do everything from reading your messages to monitoring your bowel movements, the change has users up in arms and leaving WhatsApp in record numbers.

The exodus has pushed millions of users to alternative apps like Signal and Telegram, causing Signal significant usability problems.

Most of this exodus, mind you, is based on an imperfect understanding of what the new privacy policy actually entails – core functionality of WhatsApp such as end-to-end encryption of messaging between users isn’t going anywhere, and no, Facebook can’t (yet) read your messages:

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.

Fortunately, WhatsApp seems to have recognised that it screwed up the new policy announcement, and is extending the time for users to read and understand the new policy before accepting it becomes required to use the service:

We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We’re also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15.

WhatsApp is also keen to point some of the key things that users seem to have misunderstood, such as end-to-end encryption is remaining, neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can access your messages, call logs, shared locations or contacts.

The damage, though, is mostly already done; people generally have a distrust of companies like Facebook with their privacy, and by hamming up its own new policy, WhatsApp has done likely irreparable damage to its brand and trustworthiness.

What the policy update really affects is dealings between users and businesses on the platform. The update allows businesses to integrate WhatsApp experiences with Facebook, meaning some data sharing if you engage with a business that uses Facebook as the back end for its business integration. There’s also some changes around payments through WhatsApp, putting WhatsApp buttons on Facebook pages, and so on.

For the average user – who only uses WhatsApp to message friends or group chat etc – the policy changes mean effectively nothing.

However, with the lost of trust brought about by poor communication, WhatsApp is keen to give users time to perhaps rethink their leaving the platform. You’ve got four months folks…