Ahead of Guardian Expose, Whisper Rewrites Terms of Service

Want to read a most acute spark for a corporate PR crisis?

WhisperConfession

Here it is, from an investigative report shared today by Guardian reporters Paul Lewis and Dominic Rushe:

Approached for comment last week, Whisper said it “does not follow or track users.” The company added that the suggestion it was monitoring people without their consent, in an apparent breach of its own terms of service, was “not true” and “false.”

But on Monday – four days after learning The Guardian intended to publish this story – Whisper rewrote its terms of service; they now explicitly permit the company to establish the broad location of people who have disabled the App’s geolocation feature.

It gets worse. The article’s next paragraph spells out just how closely employees at the Venice, CA-headquartered startup can apparently pinpoint user-location, thanks to an in-house widget. This is another stellar bit of snoop-beat reporting by the British newspaper, and an absolute nightmare for Whisper.

Update (1:40 p.m.):
Via Twitter, Whisper editor-in-chief Neetzan Zimmerman is wasting no time addressing The Guardian allegations:

NeetzanGuardianTweet1

NeetzanGuardianTweet2

Update (3:00 p.m.):
Zimmerman has now posted a detailed response to the Guardian article claims:

The Guardian‘s assumptions that Whisper is gathering information about users and violating users’ privacy are false.

Update (October 17):
The Guardian is standing by its story.

Zimmerman, meanwhile, has offered further clarifying detail about his objections to GigaOm’s Mathew Ingram.

[Image via: whisper.sh]

[H/T: @JakeSwearingen]

Previously on FishbowlNY:
App Claims to Scoop Vanity Fair by Publishing Gwyneth Paltrow Affair Allegation