If you’re an avid WhatsApp user then you will have received a notification about the app’s 2021 privacy changes. Read on to find the low-down on the new changes and how they will affect you.
WhatsApp has always prided itself on its high privacy levels, with its end-to-end encryption meaning messages can’t be viewed by even the app itself. Now, it’s introducing new privacy policies, affected by Facebook.
The app was purchased by Facebook in 2014 and has a userbase of over 2 billion worldwide, the majority of which received a pop-up regarding the changes. For now, users can choose to leave it a few days before they accept, but by February 8th, that option will be completely gone and users will need to accept them to keep using the app.
“As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, this family of companies,” states the new policy.
“We work with third-party service providers and other Facebook Companies to help us operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services.”
- Messages sent on WhatsApp will still be encrypted and will not be shared with Facebook. However, other information such as your contacts, profile names and pictures, shared locations and diagnostic data, will all be shared with Facebook in order to personalise ads to greater detail for you.
WhatsApp also has a ‘Transactions and Payments data’ section of the policy, which states that any purchases you make through WhatsApp will save the data of the purchase and share it with Facebook.
Although messages in general will still be encrypted, WhatsApp’s latest feature of business communication, allows businesses to host their account with Facebook instead of WhatsApp, and so any messages with those businesses may be stored and seen by Facebook. However, users should reportedly be alerted when this happens and so can choose not to message those companies should they wish to.
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Who will be affected by the new policies?
European users of WhatsApp will not be affected but the 2021 privacy changes, even if they are prompted to agree to the terms.
“For the avoidance of any doubt, it is still the case that WhatsApp does not share European region WhatsApp user data with Facebook for the purpose of Facebook using this data to improve its products or advertisements,” reads the policy.