WhatsApp hit with in-app ‘Policy Update’ that essentially forces users to accept the app will share data with Facebook

WhatsApp Privacy Policy Update
WhatsApp will share a lot more information with Facebook. Pic credit: WhatsApp

WhatsApp is sending a policy update pop-up inside its application. The popular internet-based instant messaging platform will, henceforth, share a significant amount of user data with Facebook.

WhatsApp users across the globe are seeing a seemingly innocent “Policy Update”. The in-app pop-up appears innocuous. However, the update essentially confirms the suspicion that peaked when Facebook acquired WhatsApp.

WhatsApp users must accept the new terms and conditions or stop using the messaging app?

WhatsApp users started receiving an in-app notice informing them about the app’s updated terms of service and privacy policy. The seemingly simple and straightforward notice gives an overview of the main three updates.

It is important to note that accepting the terms and conditions isn’t optional. WhatsApp users cannot ignore the pop-up with “Remind me later”.

Essentially, if WhatsApp users want to continue using the messaging platform, they must accept the revised terms and conditions. Simply put, privacy-conscious users must deny and uninstall WhatsApp if they do not wish to accept the new terms.

WhatsApp will share a lot more information with Facebook which means deeper integration and more invasive ads?

Facebook does not hide the fact that it owns WhatsApp. The company proudly displays “From Facebook” every time users tap on the WhatsApp icon. The social media giant has indicated that the new changes will go into effect on February 8th, and users will have no choice but to accept these changes if they wish to continue using WhatsApp.

Neither of the three points mentioned in the WhatsApp Policy Update appears to withhold the promises that Jan Koum and Brian Acton made when they offered the app. The duo had strongly assured its vast userbase that the app will protect privacy at all times.

However, the new update essentially breaks all the promises that the WhatsApp creators repeatedly made. Moreover, the policy update once again reminds users about the fallacies of using anything that Facebook creates or owns.

Facebook did hint at upcoming policy changes that would essentially turn WhatsApp into a data mining heaven for the company. The new terms and privacy policy appear to build upon changes announced in July 2020.

Incidentally, even this WhatsApp policy update offered users the option to withhold their WhatsApp account information from being shared with Facebook. The latest policy update eliminates this option as well.

Users who agree to the new WhatsApp Policy Update will have their WhatsApp account registration and phone number, transaction data, service-related information, interaction information, mobile device information, IP address, and “other information identified… or obtained upon notice to you or based on your consent,” shared with Facebook.

Facebook attempts to justify using this massive information-gathering exercise by claiming the shared data is used for “understanding how our services or theirs are used,” “improving their services,” “making suggestions for you,” “personalizing features and content,” and “showing relevant offers and ads across the Facebook Company Products.”

Facebook further assures that the new WhatsApp Policy Update helps the platform be better integrated into the social media giant’s multitude of products. Apparently, Facebook is merely aiming to provide a more coherent experience to users across services.

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