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WhatsApp brings in new privacy policy for users

WhatsApp privacy policy

WhatsApp has officially updated its terms of service and privacy policy and given users till February 8, 2021 to accept these conditions to continue using the instant messaging platform. For those who do not accept the new terms, there is the option to delete their accounts.

The most significant changes in the new policy are 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 has stated in an FAQ section detailing the information it shares with Facebook's companies. Prior to the latest update, existing users were provided with the option to choose not to have their WhatsApp account information shared with Facebook.

However, this does not appear to be the case this time around. WhatsApp makes it clear that it is sharing information with “third-party service providers and other Facebook Companies in this capacity. WhatsApp does elaborate on how the information exchange with Facebook will be utilised.

This includes: helping improve infrastructure and delivery systems, understanding how WhatsApp’s Services or theirs (Facebook and other Facebook companies) are used; promoting safety, security and integrity across the Facebook Company Products, e.g., securing systems and fighting spam, threats, abuse, or infringement activities; improving Facebook’s services and users experiences around them, such as making suggestions for users (for example, of friends or group connections, or of interesting content), personalizing features and content, helping users complete purchases and transactions, and showing relevant offers and ads across the Facebook Company Products; providing integrations which enable users to connect their WhatsApp experiences with other Facebook Company Products.

One example given is allowing users to connect their Facebook Pay account to pay for things on WhatsApp or enabling users to chat with friends on other Facebook Company Products, such as Portal, by connecting the WhatsApp account. WhatsApp has expanded on what happens when you delete your account, adding that deleting an account will not automatically result in all information being deleted and some of it might be stored for a longer time.

It further adds, “Please remember that when you delete your account, it does not affect your information related to the groups you created or the information other users have relating to you, such as their copy of the messages you sent them.” The new privacy policy also expands on global operations and data transfer. WhatsApp also makes it clear that it uses Facebook’s global infrastructure and data centers, including in the United State for storing data.