WhatsApp Will Share Your Data with Facebook Whether You Like It or Not

January 7, 2021

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WhatsApp will shortly start to share your data with Facebook as a condition of use of the app. This completes a U-turn which began when Facebook first acquired the app back in 2014.

At the time, WhatsApp assured users that their data would remain private, and not be shared with Facebook …

Background

Shortly after WhatsApp was sold to Facebook for $19B, the messaging app gave the reassurance in a blog post.

There has also been a lot of inaccurate and careless information circulating about what our future partnership would mean for WhatsApp users’ data and privacy. I’d like to set the record straight […]

Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible […] If partnering with Facebook meant that we had to change our values, we wouldn’t have done it. Instead, we are forming a partnership that would allow us to continue operating independently and autonomously. Our fundamental values and beliefs will not change. Our principles will not change.

The first part of the U-turn came in 2016, when WhatsApp began sharing data with Facebook by default.

By coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them.

At the time, however, existing users could opt out of the data sharing.

If you are an existing user, you can choose not to have your WhatsApp account information shared with Facebook to improve your Facebook ads and products experiences. Existing users who accept our updated Terms and Privacy Policy will have an additional 30 days to make this choice by going to Settings > Account.

WhatsApp to share your data with Facebook as condition of use

Upcoming changes to the messaging app’s privacy policy remove the opt-out option, as spotted by XDA-Developers.

WhatsApp users are receiving an in-app notice today regarding the service’s new terms and privacy policy. The notice, as you can see in the attached screenshot, talks about three key updates that affect how WhatsApp processes your data, how businesses can use Facebook hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats, and how WhatsApp will soon partner with Facebook to offer deeper integrations across all of the latter’s products. It further reveals that these changes will go into effect on February 8th, and users will have no choice but to accept these changes if they wish to continue using WhatsApp.

Among other things, your data will now be used to show personalized ads.

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.

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