WhatsApp updates privacy policy to enable sharing more data with Facebook


Many users have until February 8 to accept the new rules – or else lose access to the app

In a major update to its Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, WhatsApp is notifying users in many parts of the world that as of February 8 it will share some of their data with Facebook, the chat app’s parent company. Importantly, users who won’t agree to the new terms will need to stop using the app or delete their accounts.

The notice is being shared via an in-app notification that maps the key updates to WhatsApp’s policies and terms of services. Those are divided into three key points – how the app processes user data, how businesses can use Facebook-hosted services with WhatsApp, and how the app partners with Facebook to offer integration across Facebook’s products.

Note, however, that users in Europe will be exempt from the service’s new data-sharing practices and are only shown the first two of the three points in the notice. WhatsApp’s director of policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Niamh Sweeney attempted to clear up some confusion that had arisen around the issue:

How about the rest of the world, though? Here’s an important part of the platform’s updated ToS as it will apply to those users:

“As part of the Facebook Companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, the Facebook Companies as described in WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy, including to provide integrations which enable you to connect your WhatsApp experience with other Facebook Company Products; to ensure security, safety, and integrity across the Facebook Company Products; and to improve your ads and products experience across the Facebook Company Products,”

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At this point it is important to remember some of the key information that WhatsApp collects:

  • Your phone number that you used to create an account
  • Your profile picture and profile information
  • The phone numbers of your WhatsApp contacts
  • Transaction and payments data
  • Location information
  • Information about your device such as the model, operating system, and mobile network
  • Other information, including your IP address, device operations information, and identifiers

By agreeing with new terms and policy you will be effectively agreeing to Facebook and its subsidiaries having access to at least some of your data.

WhatsApp lists the information in the website’s FAQ section that focuses on security and privacy: “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.”

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