Recently, the global messaging service WhatsApp has provoked ire by announcing that it is to start sharing its user data with its parent company Facebook. The company said the new change is meant only to help improve the relevant ads on Facebook and WhatsApp, as well as helping to improve the messaging platform. And this has sparked the privacy concerns.
Many users on social media platforms have been posting about how users can choose opting out of this WhatsApp’s new changes, to prevent the messaging service from sending their phone numbers to Facebook. However, it has now emerged that though you might have chosen not to share your account information under this WhatsApp’s latest policy change, that does not mean the messaging platform will not share your phone number with the Facebook.
WhatsApp will give your contact details to Facebook for purposes other than ads even if you opt out; Hindustan Times has quoted a WhatsApp spokesperson as saying.
As reported by HT, the choice users have is that they can stop Facebook from using the details for more relevant ads and friend recommendations. “If you choose to opt out, this means Facebook won’t be able to suggest friends or improve the ads you see based on your WhatsApp number.”
WhatsApp’s clarification shows the phone number is being shared with Facebook, but it will not be in the public domain. Also, some basic device information such as mobile identifier, mobile carrier code, mobile country code is being shared
This policy marks a significant change in the stand by WhatsApp, despite assurances at the time that it was acquired by Facebook two years ago that everyone’s data would remain entirely private.
“Specifically, we will provide Facebook the phone numbers people use to sign up for WhatsApp, along with information about how often people are using our service. This will allow us to improve our app’s performance and ultimately be more transparent about our metrics with the public,” the spokesperson said.
Earlier this year, WhatsApp said that it was experimenting making businesses pay to reach their customers through the service.
The messaging service, however, sought to reassure its users, saying: “WhatsApp has become even more private and secure since joining Facebook, as we launched end-to-end encryption feature, earlier this year, which ensures messages can only be read by people in the conversation. Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can read them.