WhatsApp has launched its first international campaign to convince its 2 billion users their data is secure following the rollout of a privacy update that led many users to flee the app.

In January, the Facebook-owned company made a change to its terms of service, causing outrage among users who believed they had no choice but to accept the privacy update or risk being booted off the app.

Some users were also concerned that the update might result in sensitive data being shared with sister brand Facebook. WhatsApp said at the time that it had been the victim of misinformation.

WhatsApp's head of brand and consumer marketing, Eshan Ponnadurai, says the company "saw firsthand" how much users respect privacy and believes the time has come to enlighten them on how the company safeguards their data.

The Message Privately ad promises to demonstrate how its end-to-end encryption works in "everyday life" to preserve user privacy with "industry-leading features."

"We know how important privacy is to our users. This year as a company, we've seen firsthand how we created a bit of confusion and uncertainty for our users, how concerned they were about their privacy and the worry that people might be reading their messages," Ponnadurai said.

"This campaign is very much coming out in the world to address some of that, and ensure people really understand and continue to understand that what they communicate on WhatsApp - the powerful things they say, the relationship they have - are always protected and truly theirs."

WhatsApp downloads dropped from 49.6 million in December to 44.6 million in January following the rollout of the update and continued to fall to a low of 37.5 million in April before increasing to 39.7 million in May.

By contrast, Signal saw 50.6 million international downloads in January, a 4,117% rise, from 1.2 million in December, according to data from Sensor Tower, while Telegram saw downloads more than double from 29.1 million to 63.5 million over the same period.