WhatsApp privacy policy change

You might have received a privacy policy update notification today when you opened WhatsApp.  For the first time the messaging app updates its policy to share the users’ phone numbers with the parent company, Facebook.

According to the new privacy policy, published on Thursday, the users agree to share their WhatsApp phone numbers with Facebook. This will give Facebook more data about users, allowing the social network to suggest phone contacts as friends, but may spark privacy concerns.

While the content of WhatsApp messages can’t be shared with Facebook as they are encrypted, but it does have data including phone numbers and information about users’ phones and operating systems.

If a person has the Facebook app and WhatsApp app installed on the same device, even with different phone numbers, by using the device identifier, Facebook will now be able to map the two in the background using the basic device information.

According to Facebook it won’t show the users phone number on their Facebook profiles, but would use the data to improve its friend suggestion algorithm.

“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 said in a announcement.

“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.”

However if you’ve already accepted the new policy update like me, there’s a way to opt out from this. Here’s how.

Head to the app’s settings menu, and then press the account tab. From there, you can uncheck the box reading “Share my account info” to stop providing Facebook with your user data.

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