WhatsApp Policy Forces Users to Share Personal Data with FB

Facebook-owned social messaging platform WhatsApp has updated its Privacy Policy. Following this, app users were notified in an announcement made Wednesday, January 6, 2021, urging users to agree to its new terms to share data with Facebook and other subsidiaries, states Business Insider.

The new update in its privacy policy is a  stark contrast compared to what the company promised after acquiring the messaging app in 2014. According to Business Insider, WhatsApp previously gave users an option to prevent the share of their personal data with Facebook in 2016.

Although users of the messaging tool have been allowed to opt-out of such services until now, WhatsApp is giving individuals an ultimatum to either agree to the terms and privacy policies in place or for people to simply stop using the program and uninstall it.

WhatsApp Policy to Share Personal Data with FB

With the new privacy policy slated to commence next month on February 8, 2021, WhatsApp has carefully outlined what and how it plans to share user data on Facebook and other Facebook companies.

Based on the updated privacy policy released by the company, the messaging tool plans to share personal information such as user’s names, phone numbers, profile photos, online status, and messages, last seen status, and receipts to other individuals who leverage their services.

Apart from this, the contact details and address book information may also be shared by the company, reveals The Verge.

In a statement, the new privacy policy reads, “As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from and shares information with, this family of companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings.”

The announcement left many users surprised, despite Facebook saying it already disclosed the terms and conditions in October of last year.

While the changes may affect users from around the globe, this will not take effect for those living in Europe, with The Verge saying the messaging platform is not authorized to share personal data geared towards ad-targeting purposes.

This was since clarified by the WhatsApp director of policy for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa Niamh Sweeney in a series of tweets.

Following this, Elon Musk has urged the public to switch to other messaging platforms, with his tweet simply saying “Use Signal.” According to Tech Crunch, Signal is also a messaging app that promises users encrypted messaging.