WhatsApp forces users to share private data with Facebook

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WhatsApp has introduced new changes to its privacy policy, forcing users to share a plethora of very private information with Facebook hosted businesses and allow to use that information for their own benefit.

Agreeing to the terms will mean that a user’s private data, including their phone number, messaging, calling, Status, groups (including group name, group picture, group description), payments or business features; profile photo, “about” information, your last seen” and others will be shared with Facebook, which owns WhatsApp.

The additional data collected include battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network, connection information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP), language and time zone, IP address, device operations information, and identifiers (including identifiers unique to Facebook Company Products associated with the same device or account).

The new policy also means that simply deleting the app from a device will not prevent WhatsApp from retaining a user’s private data. To ensure WhatsApp no longer continues to do this, users must instead use the in-app feature for deleting their account.

The policy notes that even after using this delete feature, some data will remain with the company, stating, “when you delete your account, it does not affect your information related to the groups you created or the information other users have relating to you, such as their copy of the messages you sent them.”

Deadline

WhatsApp is insisting that all users must agree to the new terms by February 8, 2021, or else lose access to their chats and contacts.

The update comes in the form of an in-app notification, which users can choose to ignore until the date arrives.

“By tapping Agree, you accept the new terms, which take effect on February 8, 2021,” the notification states. “After this date, you’ll need to accept the new terms to continue using WhatsApp. You can also visit the Help Center if you would prefer to delete your account.”

Some users have described the new policy updates as “creepy” and everyone should be concerned about it.

Indeed, the wealthiest man in the world, Elon Musk – CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has used his Twitter page to call on the WhatsApp users to switch to Signal, which is a more friendly messaging platform with next to no such privacy requirements.

Others have been urging WhatsApp users to switch to other alternatives like Telegram and others.  The four best WhatsApp alternatives

 

Europe refuses creepy WhatsApp updates

The spokesperson however stated that there are no changes to WhatsApp’s data sharing practices in the European region (including UK) arising from the updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, it is still the case that WhatsApp does not share European region WhatsApp user data with Facebook for the purpose of Facebook using this data to improve its products or advertisements,” the spokesperson explained.

With around 2.5 billion users worldwide, WhatsApp is by far the most popular messaging app in the world.

However, since it was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion, it has faced criticism for the way it handles users’ data.

WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum stepped down as the firm’s chief executive in 2018 due to a reported irreconcilable clash over Facebook’s decision to monetize personal data in the app.

An older version of WhatsApp’s privacy policy stated: “Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA. Since we started WhatsApp, we’ve aspired to build our Services with a set of strong privacy principles in mind.”

This line is no longer present in the latest version.

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