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How WhatsApp's New Data Policy Affects Users

WhatsApp has released its new privacy policy to users, stating that it will now share data and conversations with Facebook partner companies. The changes, which will take effect in May, are mandatory for those who want to continue using the messaging application.

Citing their sources, a number of online media shared information (still unofficial) about what would happen after May 15 if the user does not accept the new Privacy Policy. For 120 days (starting May 15) users will be able to receive notifications and calls, but will not be able to send or receive messages. Thereafter (that is after the 120 day-period is over), their accounts will be disabled. Again, this information has not yet been officially confirmed by representatives of the messenger.

How WhatsApp's New Privacy Policy Affects Users

The new WhatsApp privacy policy has taken many users by surprise. That's because from now on, the instant messaging tool will share data with Facebook's partner companies. Among the information provided are the user's IP address, personal data such as phone number and activity performed, among other information. To be more aware of how and which of your data will be collected and shared, you can check the new WhatsApp privacy policy.

Note: The new policy discouraged many WhatsApp users and made them concerned about the privacy of their correspondence. Because of this, Facebook has decided to extend the period of review and acceptance of the new terms of use until May 15.

An announcement was published on the WhatsApp blog, in which the company specified that it still has no access to the content of users' correspondence, and, accordingly, will not pass it on to third parties: "WhatsApp was built on a simple idea: what you share with your friends and family stays between you. This means we will always protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see these private messages. It’s why we don’t keep logs of who everyone’s messaging or calling. We also can’t see your shared location and we don’t share your contacts with Facebook".

It also says that "No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8. We're also going to do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security work on WhatsApp. We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15"

It is important to say that user data has already been shared between WhatsApp and Facebook since July 2020. However, until that time, it was possible to choose whether or not to have your information distributed, but this is no longer allowed.

Many tech experts, including Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, urged people to switch to more reliable Signal or Telegram apps.

In the official statement, WhatsApp said that the new data policy won’t affect users from the UK and Europe: “There are no changes to WhatsApp’s data-sharing practices in the European region (including UK) arising from the updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy”.

The text of the new WhatsApp privacy policy also mentions how companies will use this user data. Among the main actions are:

  • Improvement of the delivery system and security;
  • Suggestion of friends, groups and new connections;
  • Content customization;
  • Display of more relevant ads;
  • Assistance in completing purchases and transactions.

Another new feature implemented and to be accepted in the new data policy is the integration between Facebook services and WhatsApp to use Facebook Pay to pay for purchases made by WhatsApp.

WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook six years ago. At the time, the company issued a statement saying that user privacy would be maintained, which will no longer be true from 2021 onwards.

Note: to learn more about Signal app, read this article.

Photo – Unsplash.com.


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