WhatsApp will begin sharing your data with Facebook; you have 30 days to opt out

by | Aug 26, 2016

WhatsApp released a blog post yesterday, announcing plans to begin sharing your information with Facebook. Companies will also be able send you messages directly.

This strategic policy change does not necessarily come as a surprise. WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion in 2014. It has yet to generate revenue for the social networking giant.

If you opened the messaging app today, you probably already received a notification on the change of privacy policy. WhatsApp has given everyone 30 days (starting yesterday) to decide whether or not to opt out of their information being used for ad targeting on Facebook.


Facebook won’t post your phone numbers online or give them out to anyone. You will however not be able to opt out of your data being shared with the social network.

Am I alone in sensing something fishy here? The agreement seems to appear one-sided. For those that understand logical operators this is more like an Either-AND operator which as we know does not exist. On one end you can decide whether or not to agree with WhatsApp sharing your number on Facebook. However, you can’t really decide when it comes to your data being shared.

The excuse; WhatsApp is looking explore how businesses can use the messaging app to contact customers. For example, a bank could warn a user about a potentially fraudulent transaction, or notifications from airlines about delayed flights. But in order to test the features WhatsApp needs to update its privacy policy. Facebook has already been exploring these sorts of use-cases with Messenger, and WhatsApp suggested it would follow the same path earlier this year. WhatsApp says that users will be able to “manage these communications,” and that this won’t lead to third-party banner ads on the service

The Good Side

According to the blog post, sharing users’ phone numbers with Facebook would help tackle spam and abuse, as well as offer people “better friend suggestions and more relevant ads”. Using the data, Facebook will be able to match people who have exchanged phone numbers, but have not added one another as “friends” on the social network.

WhatsApp will also share information about when people last used the service, but said it would not share the contents of messages, which are encrypted.

Privacy groups have praised WhatsApp for building powerful encryption into its services, making it impossible for the company or anyone else to read users’ messages.  The company is keen to preempt criticism, and says that although it’s changing its privacy policy, it continues to support end-to-end encryption. “Your encrypted messages stay private and no-one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else,” the company said in a blog post.

The Bad Side

Well, for those who are more private, this will definitely be quite scary to them as social media platforms are on the rise with making life become quite uncomfortable for the reserved lot.

However, speaking as an entrepreneur, I think there’s an upside to this turn which is that we all need a wider audience-reach in our businesses and having access to targeted ads will do us more good than harm.


How to Opt Out

  • When prompted to accept the updated terms and conditions, tap Read to expand the full text
  • A check box at the bottom of the new privacy policy will let you opt out of the data sharing

WhatsApp and Facebook accounts will remain separate. The service will not be merged with Facebook’s other chat-based service Messenger or photo-sharing service Instagram. But all services under Facebook will gain access to WhatsApp users’ phone numbers and other account information, and it can be used to suggest contacts be added as friends.

Once again remember, terms and conditions apply!!!

Peace Oshiafi
Peace Oshiafi

Writer at Techpoint | Creative Wordsmith, Digital Strategist and High Performance Coach on themindofcodybanks.com. i_think THEN i_ink. I’m always a tweet away @PeaceCodybanks.

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