Security News

Privacy policy update: WhatsApp will share your information with Facebook

Julia Szymańska, 1 September 2016

WhatsApp will share 1 billion users’ account information with Facebook to improve ads and product experiences.

This week, every WhatsApp user experienced a pop-up message asking them to agree to the company’s new Terms and Privacy Policy. Those who just simply clicked on the green Agree button probably don't have much of a clue as to what is going on.

Those who actually read through the new conditions learned that opting out will prevent WhatsApp from displaying ads to the users. The tricky part about this detail is that it won’t stop the app from sharing their personal information with Facebook, the media giant that has owned WhatsApp since 2014.

 

WhatsApp_Privacy_Update.png

Source: WhatsApp blog

What will change?

Your data, including your contact details, will be shared with Facebook in order to improve your Facebook ads and product experiences. On the company blog, WhatsApp ensures the following:

"Nothing you share on WhatsApp, including your messages, photos, and account information, will be shared onto Facebook or any of the Facebook family of apps for others to see. This means, for example, although some information will be shared with Facebook (such as your phone number), that information will not be seen by other people on Facebook. In addition, when you and your contacts use the latest version of our app, your messages are end-to-end encrypted by default. When your messages are end-to-end encrypted, only the people you are messaging with can read them – not WhatsApp, Facebook, or anyone else."

What most “Average Joe” social media users will take away from this is the fact that brands will be able to communicate with them and that they might begin to see ads. What’s really happening, however, is that Facebook is accessing their personal data in order to deliver tailored ads. This change won’t happen immediately, but we can expect it within the span of a few months. It’s also important to highlight this:

"Your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else. We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won't sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers."

What you can do, in order to influence your privacy?

As explained in the FAQ section, users have two options: Choose to disagree with accepting the new Privacy policy, or, if you have already accepted, change it in the app’s settings. Here’s how to do it.