WhatsApp Removing Option To Stop Facebook Accessing Account Data


WhatsApp has updated its terms and privacy policy to require users of the communications service to share their personal information with Facebook.

Updates to WhatsApp’s terms and privacy policy have made sharing data with its parent company Facebook a required part of being able to use the communication service. Previously, users had the option to decide whether or not they wanted their WhatsApp account information to be shared with Facebook. That option has now been jettisoned, though, with WhatsApp saying the move allows it to offer better integrations with Facebook and its services.

WhatsApp was first released in 2009 and has since become an efficient way for users to communicate with friends and family. Users can make voice and video calls, send text and voice messages, and share things like images and documents. More recently, users have also gained the ability to make transactions and payments using the platform. Now, however, all of these features will only be availalbe if users are willing to make their personal data available to Facebook.

Related: WhatsApp Users Broke Single-Day Call Record On New Year’s Eve 2020

First reported by XDA, WhatsApp’s newly rolled-out terms and privacy policy include requiring certain information to be shared with Facebook if users want to keep using the service. This information includes users’ phone numbers, transaction data, service-related information, mobile device info, and IP addresses, as well as information regarding how they interact with others and other pieces of data. In exchange for this substantial amount of data, WhatsApp noted that it’s offering better integration with Facebook Company Products to help improve the overall experience for users.

Is WhatsApp’s Forced Data Sharing Good For User Experience?

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Spoiler alert — it is not. To be fair, WhatsApp has outlined some benefits to the forced data-sharing. It says this information can be used to help improve infrastructure and delivery systems, promote safety and security across the Facebook Company Products, improve the experience of services themselves, and allow the seamless connection of WhatsApp experiences to other Facebook Company Products. WhatsApp suggested this could mean connecting a Facebook Pay account to make purchases on WhatsApp or chatting with friends on Portal simply by connecting a WhatsApp account.

By themselves, these all seem like fine ways to improve the way users utilize their WhatsApp and Facebook accounts. However, this sure seems like an awful lot of data being shared with a company that continues to have serious issues when it comes to privacy and data collection for the privilege. The tradeoff may seem worthwhile in the short term, but without knowing what else Facebook might be doing with these truly massive amounts of data, it should be seen as a real concern to continue using WhatsApp. Most people will continue to take that risk, though, since it’s unfortunately now the only way to use one of the world’s most popular communication tools.

Next: When Did Facebook Buy WhatsApp & How Much Did It Pay?

Sources: WhatsApp 1, 2

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Updated: January 7, 2021 — 12:51 pm

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