WhatsApp changes privacy policy, shares phone numbers with Facebook

2 minute read

WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook over two years ago and since then has gone through radical changes, receiving new features such as voice calling, document sharing, starred messages, preview links and others. Now, the Privacy Policy of the application is being updated to share WhatsApp numbers with Facebook for better friend suggestions.

WhatsApp explained to users that their data wouldn’t be sold to advertisers nor their messages wouldn’t be read, as the application already benefits from end-to-end encryption. Despite its reassurances, the new Privacy Policy published on Thursday gives cause for concern. The new change will allow Facebook to suggest phone contacts as friends after collecting more data about WhatsApp users.

“New ways to use WhatsApp. We will explore ways for you and businesses to communicate with each other using WhatsApp, such as through order, transaction, and appointment information, delivery and shipping notifications, product and service updates, and marketing. For example, you may receive flight status information for upcoming travel, a receipt for something you purchased, or a notification when a delivery will be made. Messages you may receive containing marketing could include an offer for something that might interest you. We do not want you to have a spammy experience; as with all of your messages, you can manage these communications, and we will honor the choices you make.”

Existing WhatsApp users will have the freedom to deny sharing their account information with Facebook. Those who accept the updated Terms and Privacy Policy will have 30 days to decide whether they agree to share their phone number or not by going to Settings > Account.

On the other hand, by allowing Facebook to have access to their account information, users will receive better friend suggestions, better-targeted ads, and fewer spam messages. WhatsApp will improve the user experience, but only if they’ll agree with Facebook’s intrusive policy.

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