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  • Writer's pictureSsemujju Lewis E

What's Up With WhatsApp?

We probably knew this was coming but were not sure when that would be in full effect. WhatsApp has begun acting rich.

Users of the world's most downloaded App, WhatsApp, have been up in arms over the last three days over the mandatory privacy settings update introduced.

Users have until February 8 to accept these new terms, and WhatsApp has indicated that users may not be able to access their WhatsApp accounts if they do not accept the new terms and agreements (updated on January 4).

Reactions to this update majorly stem from WhatsApp data sharing with its parent company Facebook.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp’s updated policy says that it may share your information with its family of companies to “facilitate, support and integrate their activities and improve our services.”

This means that whichever information WhatsApp automatically collects from you will be shared with Facebook. This includes your mobile phone number and basic information you give when you create a WhatsApp account.

“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, including the Facebook Company Products,” WhatsApp says.

WhatsApp will collect and share information like your phone number and other details you fill in when opening your WhatsApp account, your user activity, features you often use, your profile photo, status, and ‘about’ information. It will go-ahead to collect your device details in the tiniest bits, i.e., what device you use, your mobile network, IP address, and location of your device. This will be with your permission, of course. Do not forget that part where WhatsApp will most likely become inaccessible to you if you do not accept the new terms.

WhatsApp said Facebook and its other products would use this information to make suggestions for you, personalize features and content for you, help you complete purchases and transactions, and show relevant offers and ads across the Facebook Company Products. These products include Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Portal-branded devices, Oculus Products, Facebook Shops, Spark AR Studio, Audience Network, NPE Team apps.

Frequently Asked Questions

What about the messages?

WhatsApp claims that the messages sent on their platform are end-to-end encrypted; they can neither be read by WhatsApp themselves nor even third parties.

“Nothing you share on WhatsApp, including your messages, photos, and account information, will be shared onto Facebook or any of our other family of apps for others to see, and nothing you post on those apps will be shared on WhatsApp for others to see,” WhatsApp says.

Are Ads coming to WhatsApp?

WhatsApp insists that it does not allow third-party ads on its services. There is a BUT. It can use the information it has about you to communicate to you about its services and market its services and those of other Facebook companies.

What is the future of WhatsApp Business?

WhatsApp recently launched WhatsApp Business, enabling you to contact and consult with a business on different issues from pricing details, shipping details, and events details. The communication between you and the particular business is end-to-end encrypted. However, once a business receives your message, it is subject to that business's privacy policy, and WhatsApp has no control.

“Some businesses will be able to choose WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook, to store messages and respond to customers securely. While Facebook will not automatically use your messages to inform the ads that you see, businesses will be able to use chats they receive for their own marketing purposes, including advertising on Facebook. You can always contact that business to learn more about its privacy practices,” WhatsApp says.

What NEXT?

Well, this is quite simple. To continue using WhatsApp, you have to accept the updated privacy policy.

If not, WhatsApp does suggest that you delete your account with them.

It is understandable that many already agreed to these terms even without reading through and are just now realizing their error in not reading extensively before accepting. The bit of good news here is that if you do not want WhatsApp to share data with Facebook, or other businesses, you have an additional 30 days to opt-out and delete your account.

Deleting Your WhatsApp Account?

When you delete your account, WhatsApp says that all your messages on their server are deleted permanently.

Please note, uninstalling WhatsApp does not mean you have deleted your account on WhatsApp. To delete your WhatsApp account, go to settings > Account and selecting ‘Delete my account.’

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