Will WhatsApp share your messages with Facebook?
What data will WhatsApp share with Facebook?
Data exchange with Facebook is in fact, already taking place. While users in the European Union can opt out of data-sharing with Facebook, the rest of the world does not have the same choice. WhatsApp shares the following information with Facebook and its other companies: account registration information (phone number), transaction data (WhatsApp now has payments in India), service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses), mobile device information, and IP address. It is also collecting more information at a device hardware level now.
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Does it mean WhatsApp will use your data for ads?
WhatsApp doesn’t show ads yet, and the reported plans appear to have been shelved. If you are worried that personal messages will be used to target ads on WhatsApp, that won’t happen because they are encrypted.
But the increased data sharing with Facebook will be used to improve ad experience across other products of the company.
What about your messages?
WhatsApp has reiterated that all messages are end-to-end encrypted. This means that neither WhatsApp, not third parties will access or read your messages.
“Nothing you share on WhatsApp, including your messages, photos, and account information, will be shared onto Facebook or any of our other family of apps for others to see, and nothing you post on those apps will be shared on WhatsApp for others to see,” WhatsApp says.
WhatsApp doesn’t store your messages once they’ve been delivered. Messages are stored on the user’s device and not on WhatsApp’s servers. Once messages are delivered, they are deleted from its servers.
In the course of delivering a message, WhatsApp’s servers store undelivered messages in encrypted form for up to 30 days and if a message is still undelivered after 30 days, WhatsApp claims to delete it.
“When a user forwards media within a message, we store that media temporarily in encrypted form on our servers to aid in more efficient delivery of additional forwards,” WhatsApp adds.
What about your transaction data?
Now that WhatsApp has launched a payments feature in India, it says that if you use WhatsApp Pay, additional information, including payment account and transaction information is processed by the company. This is information required to complete the transaction such as payment method, shipping details and transaction amount.
What about ads?
However, WhatsApp can use information it has about you to communicate to you about its services and market its services and those of other Facebook companies.
What about businesses and third-part services?
WhatsApp recently launched WhatsApp Business, which allows businesses to contact and communicate with customers through its app. This could include making purchases through the app, or businesses contacting you, sending you order confirmations, flight tickets, tickets to other events, etc.
While chats between you and a Business are end-to-end encrypted, WhatsApp says that once the message is received, it will be subject to the business’s own privacy practices.
“Some businesses will be able to choose WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook, to securely store messages and respond to customers. While Facebook will not
automatically use your messages to inform the ads that you see, businesses will be able to use chats they receive for their own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook. You can always contact that business to learn more about its privacy practices,” WhatsApp says.
The detailed policy on interacting with businesses can be read here.
What choice do you have?
To continue using WhatsApp, you need to accept the new terms and conditions. If you do not wish to, WhatsApp too, suggests deleting your account.
For users who have already accepted the new terms and conditions, but do not want WhatsApp to share data with Facebook, or other businesses, they will have an additional 30 days to opt out and delete their account.
What happens if you delete your account?
WhatsApp says that when you delete your WhatsApp account, your undelivered messages are deleted from its servers along with any of your other information it no longer needs to operate and provide its services.
However, users must ensure they not only uninstall WhatsApp, but must delete their account from WhatsApp. This can be done by going to settings > Account and selecting ‘Delete my account’.
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