What does WhatsApp’s ‘privacy policy’ update really mean?

Update (15 Jan 2021): WhatsApp announced a delay of the new privacy policy update in the face of misinformation about data sharing. The new update will now start on May 15th.

You might have already seen a notice from WhatsApp about an update to their terms and privacy policy.

This notice highlights updates that affect how WhatsApp handles your data, how businesses can use Facebook hosting services and how WhatsApp will partner with other Facebook Products (including the Facebook app, Messenger and Instagram)

The update, which will take effect on February 8, 2021, will leave users no option but to accept the new terms or lose access to their WhatsApp account altogether.

What Data is WhatsApp collecting?

If you agree to the new terms, your;

  • Account Info (phone number, profile photo and name)
  • contacts, status updates
  • location, app version, operating system information
  • mobile device information, IP address, and other communication may be shared with Facebook.

(Find out how to keep your WhatsApp chats safe here)

What this means for you

The data collected from your WhatsApp account will be used to make recommendations for you (for example, friend, group and content suggestions) across Facebook’s Company products.

WhatsApp will also use the data to enable you to communicate and interact with Business accounts using services, such as Catalogs.

With the updated terms, WhatsApp will be closely integrated with other Facebook products – All the better for advertising revenue.

The likely result? The company accomplishes its goals but this could raise questions regarding data privacy.

Before you go on to rebuke WhatsApp, just know that many other apps you use collect such information about you and your device.

Your best bet is to be aware of the implications of the updated terms of service on your data.

QC Contributor
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