WhatsApp users recently received an in-app notice letting them know about the updated terms and privacy. The notification outlines the main three updates concerning user data processing, how businesses can store WhatsApp chats, and the forthcoming deeper integration of Facebook across its products. It is noteworthy that all these changes are mandatory, and as such, users that don’t accept them will not be able to use the service.
More specifically, one of the critical updates affects how businesses can use Facebook-hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats.
What WhatsApp user information will be shared with Facebook?
From February 8, 2021, onward, users that agree to the updated privacy and terms will have the following types of information shared with Facebook:
- WhatsApp account registration
- Phone number
- Transaction data
- Data related to the service
- Information about their interactions
- Mobile device information
- IP address
Note that the update also says that “other information identified or obtained upon notice to you or your consent” will also be shared.
How does WhatsApp work with the other Facebook Companies?
As part of the Facebook Companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, the other Facebook Companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings, including the Facebook Company Products.
Facebook Company Products includes the technology giant’s family of services, such as the Facebook app, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Boomerang, Threads, Portal-branded devices, Oculus VR headsets (when using a Facebook account), Facebook Shops, Spark AR Studio, Audience Network, and NPE Team apps.
How will the social media giant use this information?
Facebook’s explanation includes rather trite arguments such as understanding how their services are used and improving them, making suggestions for the users and personalizing features and content, and of course, showing relevant offers and ads across all its products.
Despite the goal of providing a more comprehensive experience to users across Facebook’s services, WhatsApp’s updated terms may cause privacy-related debates and concerns. It is curious to mention that last month WhatsApp objected to Apple’s requirement that developers submit information about collected user data for privacy labels on the Apple Store. WhatsApp claimed this requirement could cause it a competitive disadvantage.
We remind our readers that Facebook has been through multiple privacy scandals. In November, 2020, the social media was even penalized for sharing user data without consent in South Korea. The fine was approximately $6 million, following a report by the Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC).