Mandatory WhatsApp Privacy Policy Update Allows User Data to be Shared With Facebook

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WhatsApp’s latest terms and privacy policy allows the popular messaging app to share a significant amount of user data with Facebook (via XDA Developers).

WhatsApp privacy policy update

WhatsApp users are today receiving an in-app notice informing them about the app’s updated terms of service and privacy policy. The notice gives an overview of the main three updates, covering how WhatsApp processes user 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 parent company’s products.

The changes, which are set to take effect on February 8, 2021, are mandatory and users will not be able to continue using WhatsApp unless they accept the terms.

The new terms and privacy policy appear to build upon changes announced in July 2020, yet this previous update offered users the option to withhold their WhatsApp account information from being shared with Facebook. The latest update eliminates this option.

Users that agree to the updated terms will have their WhatsApp account registration and phone number, transaction data, service-related information, interaction information, mobile device information, IP address, and “other information identified… or obtained upon notice to you or based on your consent,” shared with Facebook.

When explaining how Facebook will use this information, the policy states that shared data is used for “understanding how our services or theirs are used,” “improving their services,” “making suggestions for you,” “personalizing features and content,” and “showing relevant offers and ads across the Facebook Company Products.”

The updated terms help WhatsApp to integrate more closely into Facebook’s family of products, as it aims to provide a more coherent experience to users across services. While the changes help Facebook to achieve its larger goals, the high-level of data sharing that WhatsApp users will now be subject to may raise privacy concerns.

Last month, WhatsApp publicly protested Apple’s requirement that developers submit information about what user data they collect for privacy labels on the App Store, saying that it could give its messaging app a competitive disadvantage.

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