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WhatsApp privacy policy update: this is the data shared with Facebook

On: January 12, 2021
Highlights

  • WhatsApp’s new privacy policy will come into effect from February 8th, 2021
  • The messaging platform faced severe criticism prompting many users to move to Telegram and Signal
  •  The Facebook-owned company has now clarified its new policy

WhatsApp users have started receving an in-app notification informing them about the change in its Terms of Service and privacy policy. The change will come into effect from February 8th and users will have to agree to the terms to continue using the messaging platform. 

Also Read: Made in India messenger app Hike StickerChat is shutting down this month

WhatsApp faced a massive backlash as the new policy revealed that users personal data will be shared with Facebook. The messaging service has now answered questions on its new FAQ page. WhatsApp said that it doesn’t read the user’s private messages neither does Facebook, and ensured that it will continue to offer end-to-end encryption for private messages. 

WhatsApp has clarified what data it collects and what it doesn’t after its new policy update

Addressing the controversial policy issue, the Facebook-owned company said that the update included changes related to messaging businesses on WhatsApp, and there will be no effect on individual chats.

“Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can read your messages or hear your calls with your friends, family, and co-workers on WhatsApp. Whatever you share, it stays between you. That’s because your personal messages are protected by end-to-end encryption” said WhatsApp on its FAQ page. 

Data WhatsApp doesn’t share

Both WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook can’t see the user’s private messages or hear calls with the person’s contacts. Similarly, group messages are also end-to-end encrypted and remain private. ‘We use group membership to deliver messages and to protect our service from spam and abuse. We don’t share this data with Facebook for ads purposes’ said WhatsApp.

The company also added that it doesn’t keep logs of the user’s communications and acknowledged that storing it would pose a privacy and security risk. 

Location sharing is end-to-end encrypted and only the person with whom it is shared can see it. Neither WhatsApp not Facebook can see the shared location of users. 

The FAQ page notes that WhatsApp doesn’t share the user’s contacts with Facebook. Upon giving permission, the app only accesses the phone numbers from the address book to make messaging fast and reliable. It doesn’t share contact lists with other apps that Facebook offers. 

For additional privacy, users can set disappearing messages that was rolled out last November. Users can also download their data and see what information WhatsApp has on their account from within the app. 

Data WhatsApp shares

WhatsApp added that messaging with businesses is different from messaging your family of friends as the former needs to use hosting services to manage their communication. It is giving businesses the option to use secure hosting services from Facebook to manage WhatsApp chats from their customers.

The messaging service will share data related to how one interacts with business on the app and the chats will be clearly labelled. Businesses may use this information for their marketing purpose including advertising on Facebook

WhatsApp added that if users interact and shop from business within the app using Facebook-branded commerce features, then their activity will be collected to personalize the commerce experience and the ads that are displayed on Facebook and Instagram. The company noted that these features will be optional and users will be informed how their data is being shared with Facebook. 

Lastly, Facebook will allow businesses to enable users to message them on WhatsApp. The former may collect and use data about how a user interacts with the ads personalise them. 

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Viraj Gawde

Viraj loves being in the creative field. Being a tech guy and resident tech advisor for his friends and family, his interest lies in smartphones, laptops and cameras. Passionate about creating art, his forte lies in photography. In his downtime, he loves gaming on his self-built rig and supporting FC Barcelona.