WhatsApp is going to share your number with Facebook


WhatsApp has updated its privacy policy for the first time in four years, indicating that it will have heavy consolidation with Facebook and will start testing more services on the app in the coming months. WhatsApp’s blog points out about the new privacy policy, and the documents will show that the app is now part of Facebook, as well as the new features launched like “end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp Calling, and messaging tools like WhatsApp for web and desktop”.

The changes regarding Facebook mean that some information on a WhatsApp account can be shared with Facebook to assist improve the company’s products and services. This should allow for better spam fighting and abuse, as well as seeing “better friend recommendations and more relevant ads on Facebook.”

So what information is actually being shared from WhatsApp to Facebook? The phone number you verified your account with, for one, and the last time you used the WhatsApp service. This will only be shared once you have agreed to the revised Terms of Service, though. Other than that, WhatsApp’s blog post of FAQ doesn’t say any more than “some information,” which is a little vague for my liking.

If a person has the Facebook app and WhatsApp app installed on the same device, even with different phone numbers, by using the device identifier, Facebook will now be able to map the two in the background using the basic device information.
WhatsApp has designated in the past it is looking at working with businesses like banks, flights etc in order to help them connect with customers. In short, the SMS message you get from your bank might soon start coming on your WhatsApp account itself, and the company’s new privacy policy is updated to reflect this change.

WhatsApp to share users information with Facebook

WhatsApp’s blog says they wish to “test these features in the next several months, but need to update our terms and privacy policy to do so”. The new privacy policy clearly mentions this upcoming change and has this paragraph on how this interaction will work between users and businesses.

“We will allow you and third parties, like 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. ”

The privacy also mentions that when WhatsApp services are used with such third-party services, the company “may receive information” about the user from them. An example given is “if you use the WhatsApp share button on a news service to share a news article with your WhatsApp contacts, groups, or broadcast lists on our Services.”

The new privacy policy also talks about the end-to-end encryption, which was rolled out this year and says while the company will coordinate with Facebook in the coming months, messages will remain private. “We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers,” says the blog post. In

In case of undelivered messages, they will stay on WhatsApp’s servers for 30 days and will be deleted if not delivered at the end of that time period. Interestingly, WhatsApp’s privacy settings also says this, “To improve performance and deliver media messages more efficiently, such as when many people are sharing a popular photo or video, we may retain that content on our servers for a longer period of time.”

The most important bit on the privacy policy is the increased interaction with Facebook, and WhatsApp says it will use this to find out how “people use our services and better fight spam”. WhatsApp’s privacy post also appears to recommend connecting the phone number with Facebook in order to improve friend suggestions, as well as ads on Facebook.

The privacy policy also says, “You agree to our data practices, including the collection, use, processing, and sharing of your information as described in our Privacy Policy, as well as the transfer and processing of your information to the United States and other countries globally where we have or use facilities, service providers, or partners, regardless of where you use our Services. You acknowledge that the laws, regulations, and standards of the country in which your information is stored or processed may be different from those of your own country.”

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