WhatsApp to share user data including phone numbers with Facebook

WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and from now own it will own users’ data as well — WhatsApp will now share users’ phone number with Facebook to ”fight spam, to offer ‘better friend suggestions more relevant ads.’

In 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp, leaving users in shock and uncertainty about the privacy of their chats based on the history of the social media giant and its data sharing habits. In reply, the co-founder of WhatsApp wrote a brief blog post assuring that the company will never go for users’ personal data.

“Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible: You don’t have to give us your name and we don’t ask for your email address. We don’t know your birthday. We don’t know your home address. We don’t know where you work. We don’t know your likes, what you search for on the internet or collect your GPS location. None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that.”

Now, things have changed and Facebook who’s the real boss of WhatsApp has changed its rules and announced that the company will be sharing users’ phone numbers with Facebook to fight spam and offer ‘better friend suggestions more relevant ads.’ According to WhatsApp official blog post:

“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. But 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.”

WhatsApp also revealed that they want to see how businesses can take advantage of its messaging service by contacting the customers for example getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight or receiving an emergency call from the bank alerting about a potentially fraudulent transaction. But in order to do so, the messaging app has to change its privacy policy however at the same time the company is assuring that users would be able to manage these communications and no third-party ads will be displayed (at least for now).

Remember, Facebook is doing similar with its app messenger by allowing “Sponsored Messages” ads.

WhatsApp has a history of NOT sharing users’ data with a third-party that includes law enforcement agencies, government or advertisers. In fact, the messaging giant was blocked several times in Brazil for not sharing chats with police to help them during investigations on several occasions but after latest decision things will start changing.

Related: Facebook shares your data but what about WhatsApp? Do you still want to use it?

WhatsApp and Encrypted chats:

WhatsApp recently introduced end-to-end encryption for users worldwide claiming that ”When you and the people you message are using the latest version of WhatsApp, your messages are encrypted by default, which means you’re the only people who can read them,” however, Jonathan Zdziarski, a security researcher revealed that WhatsApp actually never deletes users’ chats permanently.

Whenever you delete an individual or group chat from your WhatsApp window it does disappear immediately but what you don’t know is that although the chat is supposedly gone from your window it still exist on your smartphone and WhatsApp never deletes them permanently.

WhatsApp users have now a lot of thinking to do. Let’s wait for the aftermath of WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.


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