WhatsApp users will be required to share data with Facebook in a new policy twist

Users were first informed of the changes today via an in-app notification.

New changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy will force users to share a significant amount of data with the messaging app’s many-tentacled owner, Facebook.

Users were first informed of the changes today via an in-app notification, which asked them to accept an updated privacy policy taking effect on February 8. After that date “you’ll need to accept these updates to continue using WhatsApp,” it read.

According to the ledger of terms and conditions, data that will be given to Facebook and its other subsidiaries includes “your account registration information (such as your phone number), transaction data, service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using our Services, mobile device information, your IP address, and may include other information identified in the Privacy Policy section entitled ‘Information We Collect’ or obtained upon notice to you or based on your consent.”

The update was spotted on developer forums and picked up by tech sites such as MacRumors and 9to5Mac.

Facebook declined to comment.

The move is a 180-degree reversal from Facebook’s stance when it bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, and assured the messaging app’s users that their data would remain private and separate from the larger company. But it’s a U-turn that some could have seen coming after 2016, when WhatsApp’s policy shifted to sharing data with Facebook by default. At that time, users could still opt out by manually editing their settings within 30 days.

But now that choice is gone. And it has vanished at a peculiar time, as congressional antitrust groups are intensifying investigations into whether Facebook and other tech giants have been using their massive reach to build monopolies and quash competitors. Last month, the U.S. government and dozens of states sued Facebook seeking to compel it to sell off WhatsApp and Instagram.

According to Facebook, it uses shared data for “improving their services,” such as “making suggestions for you (for example, of friends or group connections, or of interesting content), personalizing features and content, helping you complete purchases and transactions, and showing relevant offers and ads across the Facebook Company Products.”

Source… https://www.fastcompany.com/90591623/whatsapp-users-will-be-required-to-share-data-with-facebook-in-a-new-policy-twist

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