Home Tech & Electronics Apps The Controversial WhatsApp Privacy Policy

The Controversial WhatsApp Privacy Policy

Whatsapp privacy policy
This information coupled with your facebook, messenger and instagram info means Whatsapp knows everything about you.

Users have until February 8 to accept these new terms, WhatsApp meanwhile has reiterated that all messages are end-to-end encrypted.

A new notification has been popping up on everyone’s WhatsApp telling them that their terms and policies are being updated. Users have until February 8 to accept these new terms, and WhatsApp has indicated that if users do not accept the new terms and agreements, they are urged to delete the account.

This new update has caused a lot of concern over the new privacy policy, especially with respect to data sharing with its parent company Facebook.

What is WhatsApp sharing with Facebook?

WhatsApp’s updated policy says that it will share your personal info to “facilitate, support and integrate their activities and improve our services.”

WhatsApp automatically collects information from you and now it will be shared with Facebook and all the other companies directly or indirectly working with Facebook.

Whatsapp privacy policy
This information, coupled with your Facebook, messenger, and Instagram info means Whatsapp knows everything about you.

Facebook will collect and share user activity, how often you use WhatsApp, the features you use. Moreover your profile photo, your status, and ‘about’ information is also shared.

It also collects device-level information like what device you are using, your mobile network, and IP address, among others. It also collects and uses precise location information from your device, but with your permission.

“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,” WhatsApp says.

Your information will be used by Facebook and its other products and businesses to make suggestions for you, personalize features and content, help you complete purchases and transactions, and show relevant offers and ads across Facebook Company Products.

Facebook products include Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Portal-branded devices, Oculus Products, Facebook Shops, Spark AR Studio, Audience Network, NPE Team apps, and any other features, apps, technologies, software, products, or services offered by Facebook Inc.

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 their 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.

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“When a user forwards media within a message, we store that media temporarily. It is in encrypted form on our servers to aid in the more efficient delivery of additional forwards,” WhatsApp adds.

The Payment Engine

Now that WhatsApp has launched a payments feature, it says that if you use WhatsApp Pay, information on payment accounts and transaction information is processed by the company. This is the information required to complete the transaction such as payment method, shipping details, and transaction amount.

“If you use our payment services available in your country or territory, our privacy practices are described in the applicable payments privacy policy,” it adds.

Data Sharing with 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. This can also include businesses contacting you, sending you order confirmations, flight tickets, tickets to other events, etc.

“Some businesses will be able to choose WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook, to securely store messages and respond to customers. Facebook will not automatically use your messages to inform the ads that you see.  But, 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 FAQ section has an updated policy and changes.

Do You Have Any Choice?

The clear answer to that is, NONE. To continue using WhatsApp, you MUST accept the new terms and conditions. If you don’t want to, the only option is deleting your account.

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For those who have already accepted the new terms and conditions, but don’t want to share data with Facebook and its affiliates, they have 30 days to opt-out and delete their account.

The only other choice left out is to move to a more secure messaging service like signal or telegram.

Will Deleting Your WhatsApp Account Help?

WhatsApp policy says that when you delete your account, your undelivered messages will be deleted from its servers. Other information it no longer needs to operate will also be deleted.

To delete your account from WhatsApp. Go to settings > Account and select ‘Delete my account’.

However, even if you delete your account, it does not delete the information other users have relating to you. They will not delete information such as a copy of the messages you sent to others.