WhatsApp changes its Terms and Privacy Policy

WhatsApp is updating its Terms and Privacy policy for the first time in four years and the first time since the app was acquired by the major social network Facebook for $19 billion back in 2014. “We’re updating WhatsApp’s terms and privacy policy, as part of our plans to test ways for people to communicate with businesses in the months ahead. The updated documents also reflect that we’ve joined Facebook and that we’ve recently rolled out many new features, like end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp Calling, and messaging tools like WhatsApp for web and desktop,” the company wrote on its blog.


The biggest news, however, is that the messaging app will also soon begin to share its users’ phone numbers and usage information with Facebook as part of an effort to develop its own business communication platform. “We want to explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam.”

The company says that by coordinating more with Facebook, “we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them.”


Be that as it may, WhatApp assured users that their messages remain encrypted by default. “Even as we coordinate more with Facebook in the months ahead, your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else. 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,” assured the company.

Nonetheless, users have 30 days to opt out from having their WhatsApp number shared with Facebook. There are two ways to do so. First, as you see the notification that the terms and privacy policy have changed, instead of hitting I Agree, go to the full text of the document and closer to the bottom you will see a checkbox that says “share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook to improve my Facebook ads and products experiences”. All you need to do it uncheck that box and then tap Agree. Or, if you’ve already agreed to the terms, you can still opt out by going into your Account Settings and unchecking the box Share my account info.


Even then, there is no way to opt out completely, as the company says that the Facebook family of companies will still receive and use it for other purposes.

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