WhatsApp’s Terms and Privacy Policy update will mandate data-sharing with Facebook

WhatsApp announced its new privacy policy, which will take effect on 8 February 2021. The statements made on the company’s website and in-app notice users receiving regarding the new privacy policy reveal that WhatsApp can share user data with Facebook from now on. 

Whether WhatsApp shares user data with Facebook has been a generally discussed issue to date. However, this will change in 2021. Users who do not allow data sharing will not be able to continue using WhatsApp. The users who want to continue using the instant messaging app should agree to the new terms and privacy policy. “After this date, you’ll need to accept the new terms to continue using WhatsApp or you can always delete your account.” the update states.

Another controversial decision made by WhatsApp is that user data will be shared with other Facebook companies including Facebook Payments and Onavo as well as Facebook itself. 

So what is in this data? “The information we share with the other Facebook Companies includes your account registration information (such as your phone number), transaction data, service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using our Services, mobile device information, your IP address, and may include other information identified in the Privacy Policy section entitled ‘Information We Collect’ or obtained upon notice to you or based on your consent.”

The new privacy policy highlights how other Facebook companies may use the information collected from WhatsApp. This includes:

  • helping improve infrastructure and delivery systems;
  • understanding how our Services or theirs are used;
  • promoting safety, security and integrity across the Facebook Company Products, e.g., security systems and fighting spam, threads, abuse, or infringement activities;
  • improving their services and your experiences using them, such as making suggestions for you (for example, of friends or group connections, or of interesting content), personalizing features and content, helping you complete purchases and transactions, and showing relevant offers and ads across the Facebook Company Products; and
  • providing integrations which enable you to connect your WhatsApp experiences with other Facebook Company Products. For example, allowing you to connect your Facebook Pay account to pay for things on WhatsApp or enabling you to chat with your friends on other Facebook Company Products, such as Portal, by connecting your WhatsApp account.

Written by Sophie Blake

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