Yesterday, the popular messaging app, WhatsApp, announced that it would share some of its user data with its parent company Facebook. These data would include its users’ phone number.
Why is there a need to share such data?
“But by coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of.”
The hyper-messaging app promised that it’d never sell or share your number with advertisers. If you’re not comfortable adding your phone number to a database where brands could potentially see it, then you’re in luck. You can still stop the messaging app from handing your phone number to Facebook.
But you need to do it fast. That’s because WhatsApp has an opt-out period of 30 days. If you don’t want your mobile number to be shared with Facebook, you need to follow these steps.
Read the updated terms and conditions
A new set of terms and conditions are presented after you’ve updated WhatsApp on your phone.
After the update is done, the first thing you’ll see is the terms and conditions.
Never tap “Agree.”
Instead, scroll down and uncheck the box that allows WhatsApp to share your information with Facebook.
Go to Settings
On the other hand, if you’ve updated to the latest version of WhatsApp and accidentally tap “Agree” without unchecking such box, don’t fret.
You can still opt out by going to Settings. Then, tap “Account.”
From there, you’ll find an option that says “Share my account info.”
There’s a brief explanation of what it’ll do when you check the box. Just uncheck it and you’re done.
WhatsApp No Longer Cares for Your Privacy
This is the sentiment of many tech observers. The app did protect and care for your privacy. But with such update, that’s no longer a reality.
Some are also saying that it’s a violation of an agreement reached with the FTC four years. With that agreement, FTC requires Facebook to ask permission from its users before it changed settings that could affect their privacy.
Facebook has the habit of putting its needs first before its users. In November 2007, the company launched Beacon. It was a program that captures details of what peopled are doing on third-party sites. It could also publish things, like the games the users are playing or their recent purchases using the newsfeed.
This resulted in a class action suit.
But Facebook quietly killed it in 2009.
The social networking site would expect another howl of protest for this update.
Nevertheless, you have at least a month to opt out. If you want a more private messaging service, you may try Telegram or Signal. These two don’t rely on advertising.