The new update will allow the platform to share data, including profile pictures, WhatsApp phone number, contact list, and phone number, and status message with Facebook. The new update might not be very popular with users since Facebook has faced a string of privacy encroachment controversies in the past.
In 2016, when data sharing between the two platforms first surfaced, WhatsApp gave users the chance to opt-out of data sharing with Facebook. Now WhatsApp has revealed that all users must accept the new update to allow their data to be shared if they wish to continue using the service. However, Facebook explained that users who opted out of data sharing in 2016 will still be able to keep their data away from Facebook, regardless of the new update.
WhatsApp explained that sharing users’ data with its parent company and other subsidiaries of Facebook, will allow the platform to optimize its services in areas such as recommending friends and showing ad offers based on each user’s data, on all companies owned by Facebook. This means that the data can be used on other Facebook-owned platforms such as Instagram, Arstechnica writes.
Facebook also said that the changes will not really affect personal accounts as its main targets are WhatsApp business accounts. The platform added that for personal accounts, it will keep sharing the data it was previously sharing from WhatsApp and no big difference will be noticed. For business accounts, Facebook said it will provide users that do not want to store their chats on their own devices, the chance to host their WhatsApp chats via Facebook’s secure hosting system.
Facebook also explained that since 2016 when it issued the last data sharing update, nothing of such nature has been repeated. This means that new users have not been able to stipulate their wishes to allow WhatsApp to share their data with its parent company. The only difference is that the new update will not make an opt-out option available as the 2016 update did.
According to reports, Facebook is currently trying to incorporate WhatsApp into its messaging ecosystem and the update is a step towards completing the task. Users are, nevertheless, assured of their privacy as WhatsApp will keep its end-to-end encryption which protects the contents of messages from the two platforms.