The New WhatsApp Update and How it Will Use Your Data

Smartphones have utterly transformed the way we communicate as opposed to communication at the time of landlines and keypad phones. They have enabled the use of several applications which have been of assistance in various ways including messaging, phone calls, video calls and others. Today, a messaging application is complementary to a smartphone, regardless of the region, local language, or any other factor out there; and for most smartphones, this messaging applications shows in the form of WhatsApp.

WhatsApp, since its conception in 2009, has garnered over 1.5 billion active monthly users and continues to do so by releasing new features every now and then, to have better functionality and efficiency. In the more recent WhatsApp update, it has rolled out a number of new features and changes regarding Privacy Policy and Data usage policies that users don't know about. So here we discuss the recent update by WhatsApp, and how they will affect users and use their data.

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Sharing Data With Facebook

Sharing data with Facebook is perhaps the newest addition to the update, and equally surprising. This new WhatsApp update seeks the users permission to share their WhatsApp data with Facebook to continue using the application, and takes effect after January 8, 2021. In the previous version of WhatsApp, the users had the liberty to opt out of sharing data on Facebook, but now, there is no provision of opting out of this update. These updated settings include the following:

  • WhatsApp can send your information to anyone you choose to communicate through their services.
  • You phone number, about info, and profile name and picture can be viewed by anyone who uses WhatsApp services; however, this can be configured through the service settings.
  • When using other services integrated with WhatsApp, these services receive data that you share with them, such as the WhatsApp messages. These third party applications can receive information including your IP address and other info.
  • The information that Facebook uses via WhatsApp will further be used to show friend suggestions, personalizing your content, and display relevant ad offers.

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Whatsapp Updates on Sharing Data With Facebook
WhatsApp Update on Sharing Data With Facebook

Working with Other Facebook Companies

WhatsApp has been working with Facebook since it was acquired by Facebook in 2014, to create a messaging ecosystem and help them 'operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market' their services. The mutual sharing of data between WhatsApp, Facebook, and other Facebook companies seeks to create a better communication infrastructure. This may include:

  • Enhancing their delivery system and better understanding of the collective services.
  • Fighting against spam, threats, infringements, and abuse, hence promoting security across all communication platforms.
  • Improving services and suggesting groups, relevant offers, and contacts, along with personalized features.
  • The new update also offers integrations with various Facebook services such as Portals by connecting your WhatsApp account.

Information Collected by WhatsApp

WhatsApp collects user information in various ways including cookies and third party applications apart from the general information that you already provide it. The information is said to be stored to offer users a better experience and enhance the overall messaging environment. Some ways that information is extracted by Whatsapp are as follows.

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Information Provided by the User

When using WhatsApp, there are several fields that we need to fill out to create an account and start using the services, and this falls under the information that we provide. This includes:

  • Account information including phone number, profile name, and about information.
  • You messages including the Undelivered messages, which are deleted after not being delivered for 30 days, as well as the media forwards.
  • You can also share contact information on a regular basis, and find detailed content regarding contact sharing here.
  • Transaction and payments information is also shared (in case you are using the feature), such as payment method, shipping details, and transaction amount.
  • Information conveyed to the customer support is also stored relating to use of WhatsApp services and the email you choose to contact with.

Information Stored and Collected Automatically

Much of websites and social media sites use cookies to store customer information. This helps websites to store customer data on the browser for a certain time limit, and then use it later. WhatsApp also deploys cookies to collect your data which might include:

  • Usage and log information such as diagnostics, crash, website, performance reports and how you use the services to communicate, last seen and updated.
  • The device information is also automatically stored such as model, battery, mobile operator, IP address, time zone, and other operations information.
  • Location related information is also automatically stored on WhatsApp servers when you access such settings to share your location.
  • Cookies are also used to store your preference related information including language and other choices to offer a better experience.

Relevant read:


Third Party Information

WhatsApp also relies on information that other third-party applications provide about you, including Facebook and its products. This information can be used by WhatsApp to perhaps offer a better user experience. Some ways how third party applications share such information are:

  • Other users may provide your contact details just as you may provide theirs. This includes phone numbers, messages, and calling information.
  • Users can also report you just as you can report them for violating of any kind or other suspicious activity. The regulations for this policy can be viewed in the Advanced Security Features.
  • The businesses you conduct over WhatsApp with other organizations will provide information regarding you in compliance with their own business privacy policy.
  • Other third party services including Facebook and its products also provide user information to WhatsApp, including shared information with groups or individuals.
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