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August 27th, 2016 by


On August 25, 2016, WhatsApp issued a statement which began: “Today, we’re updating WhatsApp’s terms and privacy policy for the first time in four years, as part of our plans to test ways for people to communicate with businesses in the months ahead.”

This comes across as a rather innocuous statement, however further reading of the statement reveals that the company will now be sharing some of your information with Facebook. 

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WhatsApp stresses that your privacy and security is of utmost importance and that they won’t be sharing any of the images or messages you send or receive on their platform, however they will be sharing things such as your phone number with parent company, Facebook.

The reason for sharing this information, says WhatsApp, is so that they “can offer better friend suggestions” and provide more relevant advertising.

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The company continues by saying that this is also part of their strategy to explore ways for you to communicate with business and give the example of hearing from your bank about a potentially fraudulent transaction, or getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight. 

Despite these assurances, users of the popular messaging platform have begun to express their outrage and frustration with WhatsApp over the perceived privacy violation. Part of the app’s popularity is as a result of its unobtrusive nature and it’s recently announced end-to-end encryption. 

WhatsApp says: “Nothing you share on WhatsApp, including your messages, photos, and account information, will be shared onto Facebook or any of our other family of apps for others to see, and nothing you post on those apps will be shared on WhatsApp for others to see.”

If you use WhatsApp and don’t want your information shared with Facebook, there are two ways to opt out of this new change: 

  • Before you accept WhatsApp’s new terms and conditions, click on the “read more” option which appears on the notification and uncheck the “Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook…” option.Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 1.46.53 PM
  • If you’ve already accepted the updated terms and conditions, you still have 30 days to opt out by opening the app and going to Settings > Account.

As mobile integration becomes more deeply baked into our daily lives, the sharing of information between apps and services will become more and more personal and in-depth. 

Ensure that you stay up to date with the sharing practices of your most used apps and online services and always read the terms and conditions.

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