What’s up with the new WhatsApp privacy policy?

  • 1st September 20161/09/16
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WhatsApp users across the world are getting in a bit of a tizz over new privacy settings introduced at the end of August. The popular messenger app is used by millions, and in 2014 was bought by Facebook for a cool $21.8billion (slightly on the pricey side I’d say).

So what’s the fuss all about? Well, for the first time in 4 years WhatsApp have updated their privacy settings, and now they intend on sharing information about you with their parent company Facebook. They want to explore ways for users to communicate with businesses that matter to them whilst still providing an ad-free experience, and in order to do this they needed to update their terms and privacy policy.

What will be shared

WhatsApp released a blog post which stresses that the app is still secure. End to end encryption means that no one other than you and the person you’re chatting to can read your messages, not even WhatsApp or Facebook. What will be shared is your phone number, contact lists, and usage data. This usage data includes things such as when you last used the app, what device you used, and what operating system you used. This information won’t be shared on your Facebook page, but rather with Facebook the company. They’re also adamant that they won’t be sharing or selling this information to advertisers or anyone else.

What will it be used for

The whole point of this update is to improve the communication between businesses and consumers. This isn’t so businesses can bombard you with annoying adverts, it’s for things like notifications about flight delays or potentially fraudulent transactions on your bank account, appointment reminders, receipts, things like that.

The shared data will also work through Facebook, meaning that the social media site will be able to offer better friend suggestions and more relevant ads. So if you chat to someone from Tinder on WhatsApp they’ll be able to find you a lot easier on Facebook!

How to opt out

If you really don’t want WhatsApp and Facebook gossiping about your data behind your back (ok it won’t actually be like that) then existing users can opt out. But there’s a catch, you only have till 25th September to do this.

Here are the two ways to protect your data from being shared:

Method one

For those who haven’t had the policy update:

a) When the update appears on your phone, click “Read More” on the bottom.
whatsapp1 A

b) This takes you to more information about the privacy policy. At the bottom of the screen uncheck the box for “Share my WhatsApp information with Facebook”

whatsapp 1 B

c) A little box will pop up confirming that your information won’t be shared
whatsapp1 C
d) Click “Agree

Method two

For those who have done the policy update but didn’t read the terms (we’re all guilty of it, don’t worry):

a) Use the three dots in the upper right of your screen to navigate to “Settings” and click “Account”

whatsapp2 a

b) At the bottom you’ll see “Share My Account Info”, slide the little button to the left

c) A pop up box will appear asking if you’re sure you don’t want WhatsApp to share your data with Facebook. Tap “Don’t Share”
whatsapp2 b

d) Now “Share My Account Info” should be greyed out
whatsapp2 c

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