WhatsApp updates privacy policy to include mandatory data-sharing with Facebook

Messaging platform WhatsApp has announced that from next month it will require users to agree to their data being shared with parent company Facebook if they wish to continue using the service.

The updated privacy policy will for the first time make it mandatory for users to accept the sharing from 8th February.

WhatsApp has outlined some of the data it will share, including account registration information (including phone numbers), transaction data, service-related information, information on how users interact with others (including businesses) when using the platform’s services, mobile device information and IP addresses.

In its updated privacy policy, it  says it will use the information shared with Facebook to “help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings, including the Facebook Company Products.

WhatsApp says the aim is to:

  • help improve infrastructure and delivery systems
  • understand how the WhatsApp or Facebook services are being used
  • promote safety, security and integrity across the Facebook Company Products, e.g., securing systems and fighting spam, threats, abuse, or infringement activities
  • improve services and user experience, such as making suggestions for users(for example, of friends or group connections, or of interesting content), personalizing features and content, helping users complete purchases and transactions, and showing relevant offers and ads across the Facebook Company Products;
  • providing integrations which enable users to connect their WhatsApp experiences with other Facebook Company Products. For example, allowing them to connect your Facebook Pay account to pay for things on WhatsApp or enabling users to chat with your friends on other Facebook Company Products, such as Portal, by connecting their WhatsApp account.

A WhatsApp spokesperson said: “As part of WhatsApp’s business vision, in order to enable users and businesses better, we are updating our terms of service and privacy policy as we work to make a great way to get answers or help from a business,” said a WhatsApp spokesperson on Wednesday.

“Privacy policy and terms updates are common in the tech industry, as you know. Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA. Since we started WhatsApp, we’ve built our services with a set of strong privacy principles in mind.”

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