(Bloomberg) -- WhatsApp, the popular messaging app owned by Meta Platforms Inc., is pushing its privacy features in a new U.S. marketing campaign that compares a standard text message to mail that was opened before it was delivered.
The campaign promotes end-to-end encryption, technology that WhatsApp uses so that user messages only exist on the device where a message was sent or received, not on Meta servers.
The campaign suggests that standard SMS -- short message service -- texts are the equivalent of letting someone read through your mail. A video spot portrays a mailman delivering packages to people that have already been opened. “Every text you send is just as open as your letters,” the mailman says.
The campaign will run online, on billboards and on television starting this weekend during the NFL playoffs.
It’s the first public marketing campaign that WhatsApp has ever run in the U.S., according to a company spokesman. It follows backlash the app has received after integrating more closely with Facebook, which has a negative reputation on privacy after many scandals.
WhatsApp, with more than 2 billion global users, is the primary messaging service in countries like Brazil and India, but faces more competition from standard SMS and Apple Inc.’s iMessage in the U.S. Some businesses can choose to back up their WhatsApp messages on Meta servers if they want.
Apple has similarly used privacy to promote its iOS devices, and has made it harder for Meta to collect personal information about people that the company uses for targeted advertising. Messages sent between Apple devices are also end-to-end encrypted. SMS text messages are not end-to-end encrypted and are stored on a cellular carrier’s servers.
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