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.
“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.”
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.”