WhatsApp will share more user data with Facebook
Users of popular instant messaging service WhatsApp will no longer have the choice of opting out of sharing their personal data with Facebook.
The policy, which comes into effect on 8th February, enables WhatsApp to share significantly more user data with Facebook, as the social networking giant aims to enhance business usage across group 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, customise, support, and market our Services and their offerings.’
WhatsApp currently collects user data including phone numbers, profile names, profile pictures, status messages and the phone numbers stored in address books.
Under the new terms, Facebook will have the right to share that data with its family of companies.
In a case where a user interacts with a third-party business through WhatsApp, Facebook may also share user information with those outside entities.
Facebook companies include Facebook Technologies, Facebook Payments, Onavo, CrowdTangle Facebook Technologies Ireland, WhatsApp, and WhatsApp Ireland.
The upcoming change will certainly disappoint users who want to minimise their data sharing with Facebook. The decision is also expected to irk privacy experts and cybersecurity advocates, who have long warned against data pooling among big technology firms.
The move comes nearly a month after it was reported that more than 40 US states are planning to file a lawsuit against Facebook over possible antitrust violations.
A report by Reuters claimed last month that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also considering bringing in a separate but related complaint against Facebook in district court, or with an administrative law judge.
Investigators are reportedly looking at the way in which the social media giant manages its user data, and the policies that govern how third-party app developers and other firms can access that data.