WhatsApp Users Can No Longer Avoid Sharing Data With Facebook
WhatsApp users will no longer have the option of opting out of sharing information with Facebook Inc.
WhatsApp, founded by Jan Koum and Brian Acton, started as an ad-free, secure messaging service, helping it win users across the globe. Facebook acquired the platform in 2014 for $19 billion. Kaum, however, quit four years later amid differences with Facebook over data privacy—or using user data for targeted ads, media reports said at the time. Facebook went ahead with the plan to monetise WhatsApp.
The updated policy goes into much more detail on how user data is shared with Facebook, businesses on the platform and other third-party services.
- Account registration information (such as phone numbers)
- Service-related information
- Transaction data, if users use WhatsApp Pay or purchase products through it
- Information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using WhatsApp
- Mobile device information
- IP address
- Other ‘Information We Collect’ or obtained “upon notice to you or based on your consent”
Facebook Companies include Facebook Payments, Onavo, Facebook Technologies, Facebook Technologies Ireland, WhatsApp, WhatsApp Ireland and CrowdTangle.
BloombergQuint awaits response to queries emailed to WhatsApp and WhatsApp India.
According to the policy, WhatsApp shares information with Facebook companies to improve delivery systems, understand services used, promoting safety, fighting spam, improve user experience through personalised suggestions, and for relevant offers and ads, among others.
Messages are still end-to-end encrypted and are stored only on user devices as long as they are delivered with a double tick. WhatsApp says it stores messages on its servers when they are undelivered for a maximum 30 days. Thereafter, these are deleted from the servers too. When a user forwards media content, WhatsApp stores it "temporarily in encrypted form" to make further forwards more "efficient".
Other tweaks to the policy include more details on how businesses will be able to interact with users and broader definitions of information that WhatsApp collects.