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WhatsApp updates privacy policy; here's what is new

WhatsApp to share all user information with Facebook and its subsidiaries


WhatsApp has officially updated its privacy policy and terms of service to better integrate with other products and services offered by Facebook. The messaging platform has given its users time till February 8, 2021 to accept the same to continue using the messaging platform. For those who do not accept the new terms, there is the option to delete their accounts, which is a standard practice in the industry.

The most significant change is around how WhatsApp shares information with Facebook and its subsidiaries. “The information we share with the other Facebook Companies includes your account registration information (such as your phone number), transaction data, service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using our Services, mobile device information, your IP address, and may include other information identified in the Privacy Policy section entitled ‘Information We Collect' or obtained upon notice to you or based on your consent,” WhatsApp stated in its post on updated privacy policies. 

Earlier, WhatsApp users could opt out of sharing their information with Facebook; however, that seems to be not the case this time.

Users will be required to accept the updates to continue using WhatsApp on their devices. This means that if a user won't accept the new changes, they will lose access to the app. 

Regarding third-party service providers, WhatsApp’s privacy policy now mentions “other Facebook Companies” and how they work with them to support “services, such as to provide technical infrastructure, delivery and other systems; market our services; conduct surveys and research for us; protect the safety, security and integrity of users and others; and assist with customer service.”

It also expands on using third-party services integrated inside WhatsApp, and once again other Facebook products find a mention. The earlier policy just mentioned iCloud or Google Drive, which are commonly used by many to backup and save their messages.

The new part in this section mentions that when users rely on “a third-party service or another Facebook Company Product linked through our Services, such as when you use the in-app player to play content from a third-party platform,” some information about them is shared with Facebook or the third-party service. This includes IP address, the fact that one is a WhatsApp user, according to the new policy.

The following is the information collected by WhatsApp, according to their privacy policy:

1. Your account information:  You must provide your mobile phone number and basic information (including a profile name of your choice) to create a WhatsApp account. If you don’t provide with this information, you will not be able to create an account to use WhatsApp. You can add other information to your account, such as a profile picture and "about" information.

2. Your messages: We do not retain your messages in the ordinary course of providing our Services to you. Instead, your messages are stored on your device and not typically stored on our servers. Once your messages are delivered, they are deleted from our servers. The following scenarios describe circumstances where we may store your messages in the course of delivering them:

Undelivered messages: If a message cannot be delivered immediately (for example, if the recipient is offline), we keep it in encrypted form on our servers for up to 30 days as we try to deliver it. If a message is still undelivered after 30 days, we delete it.

Media forwarding: When a user forwards media within a message, we store that media temporarily in encrypted form on our servers to aid in more efficient delivery of additional forwards.


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