WhatsApp has updated its privacy policy for the first time in four years, with the headline being that Facebook can now access your phone number, account information and usage data. The first time the messaging app has allowed the two services to connect data since Facebook bought it two years ago.

The messaging app’s new privacy policy, published on Thursday, gives it permission to connect Facebook accounts to WhatsApp accounts for the first time. This will give Facebook more data about users, allowing the social network to suggest phone contacts as friends, but may spark privacy concerns.

Facebook and that we’ve recently rolled out many new features, like end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp Calling, and messaging tools like WhatsApp for web and desktop. Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them.” Yay, better ads!

But WhatsApp has announced earlier this year, WhatsApp want to explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam. Whether it’s hearing from your bank about a potentially fraudulent transaction, or getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight, many of get this information elsewhere, including in text messages and phone calls. WhatsApp want to test these features in the next several months, but need to update our terms and privacy policy to do so. click here to read changing in WhatsApp Privacy Policy

“We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others,” the post continues, “including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers.”

Facebook currently makes more than $5 billion in advertising revenue per quarter.

WhatsApp data that will be shared under the new T&Cs includes the phone number a user used to verify their account, and the last time they used the service.

You can read the full WhatsApp privacy policy here.

Facebook

WhatsApp has come a long way since Jan Koum created the extremely popular messaging app in 2009, before selling to Facebook for $19 billion five years later. It’s not clear from the WhatsApp blog post if other user data will be shared with Facebook. The wording suggests this is entirely possible, although if a user has updated to the latest version of the app, which end-to-end encrypts all content, then their messaging content at least cannot be shared, so long as the person they are messaging has also updated. WhatsApp also makes this point in its blog post, noting: “When your messages are end-to-end encrypted, only the people you are messaging with can read them — not WhatsApp, Facebook, or anyone else.”

Facebook trying to ‘fill in’ missing mobile phone number data via the more comprehensive WhatsApp address book — given that the latter requires users to supply a number to verify an account, whereas it is possible to use Facebook without supplying your mobile number (Facebook might well have grabbed your digits via your friends uploading their contacts’ books to the service anyway… And the service periodically nags those who haven’t to add a mobile number…).


WhatsApp’s new privacy policy

  • WhatsApp can now share data including your phone number with Facebook, letting it better target adverts and improve friend suggestions
  • Make clear that we’ve rolled out end-to-end encryption.
  • When you and the people you message are using the latest version of WhatsApp, your messages are encrypted by default
  • Your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else.
  • WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers.
  • The new policy also reflects recent changes to WhatsApp such as voice calls and its web version

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