Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) defended a privacy policy update planned by subsidiary WhatsApp, branding its data protection capabilities as stronger than those of rival Apple’s messaging service.

On Facebook’s Q4 2020 earnings call, Zuckerberg sought to reassure investors over the changes to WhatsApp’s policies, repeating the company’s line that the move is designed to simplify users’ transactions with businesses rather than increase the information harvested by its parent.

He asserted WhatsApp and sister service Messenger were “the best private social apps available”, again highlighting end-to-end encryption would be unaffected by the update.

Data protection from WhatsApp is “clearly superior” to that offered by Apple’s iMessage, which Zuckerberg said fails to provide the same level of encryption and stores “backups of your messages by default”.

The Facebook chief again took aim at planned privacy updates for iOS14 which he previously warned would result in lower revenue for advertisers.

He tipped the full impact of the change to be felt towards the end of the current quarter.

The social media company booked net profit of $11.2 billion in Q4 2020, up from $7.3 billion in Q4 2019, with revenue growing 33 per cent to $28.1 billion.