As one of the largest tech companies in a world where almost everyone has the right to vote, Facebook has to jump through numerous regulatory frameworks. After all, the company has 3.5 billion active users per month on its services – that’s almost half of the world’s population. And one of those extremely popular services is WhatsApp.
Because of this, when it was first announced that the instant messenger will share user data with Facebook itself, a heated debate took place in the popular media, as well as in various institutions that continue to struggle for the right of users’ privacy to be within the US Hands of the user.
What if you accept the new changes?
First of all, it needs to be made clear that WhatsApp conversations will continue to use the end-to-end encryption system. This results in private conversations where only you and your contacts can access the contents of the exchanged messages.
- Registration information such as phone number, name, profile picture and status.
- IP address: Even if you do not use the location-related functions in the app, the service is dependent on IP. Addresses and other data such as phone number and area code to calculate your general location.
- Device information (battery level, carrier, carrier signal strength, Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram identifiers that you can use to compare data from the same user across all three platforms).
- Transaction and payment data.
- Reports and performance records.
In addition, the messages also focus on WhatsApp Business:
- Usage and log information: Data related to the use of the branch function, such as: B. Type of products viewed or purchased, functions used, time and actions you performed, frequency and duration of your activities and interactions.
- Facebook Payments: A payment service from Facebook.
- Onavo: A web analytics and monitoring service from Facebook that has been controversial in the past as a rather controversial VPN app.
- CrowdTangle: a social media analysis and monitoring tool.
- Facebook technologies: Oculus VR.
With the terms going into effect on May 15th, these Facebook affiliated companies will be able to store, manage and process your WhatsApp data.
According to Facebook, in addition to improvements in terms of service security and infrastructure, there are other points to consider:
- Improving services and experiences, including suggestions for users (e.g. content recommendation, group connections or friends)
- Integration of WhatsApp with other Facebook services such as Facebook Pay
In this way, Facebook can develop its own business solution and turn WhatsApp into an interface for payments and customer relationships.
What if you don’t accept the new changes?
You will still receive a notification with information about WhatsApp’s new Terms of Service reminding you to accept them. According to the company, there will be a point in the future where this reminder will appear permanently and result in more and more features being disabled. In this case, the following restrictions apply:
- You cannot access your conversations, only receive voice and video calls.
- If you’re already receiving WhatsApp notifications, you can tap them to read and reply to messages and return missed voice and video calls.
- After a few weeks of restricted feature use, you will no longer receive calls or notifications, and WhatsApp will no longer forward messages and calls to your phone.
- The length of the new grace period remains unclear at the moment. We just know that “not all users will get these changes at the same time”.
My Opinion: I do not agree to share WhatsApp data with Facebook for the time being
However, you do not have to accept any of the changes and pass on your Messenger data to companies linked to Facebook, as there will no longer be any consequences after May 15th. At least that is the promise of WhatsApp itself. My suggestion is why not wait and see how the company will deal with the problem in the coming weeks or maybe months, as no timeframe has been set so far.
So if you had used instant messenger back in 2016 and had not opted out of exchanging data with Facebook this year, you would most likely have exchanged this information between the platforms.
To find out if you find yourself in such a situation, you need to request your account details first. To do this, start WhatsApp and go into the settings (the three-dot menu on Android or the settings on iPhone) tap Account, and choose Request account information. A report with your data will be available within three days. If you do so today, you will still have time to decide whether to accept or reject WhatsApp’s new Terms of Service.
Either way, there are several messaging service options on the market, some of which are superior to WhatsApp itself. Check out some of them from the link below:
Personally, I’ll wait for all possible scenarios to play out before deciding whether to accept sharing my WhatsApp information with Facebook-linked companies. Right now I’m curious to see what your next course of action is:
Remember that taking part in our surveys is anonymous! However, we strongly encourage you to debate and share ideas in the comments section.