Upon closer inspection, the updated policy makes it clear that the data collected by WhatsApp – including users’ phone numbers, “transaction data, service information, information about how you interact with it” others (including businesses) when you use our services, mobile device information, your IP address ”and more may be shared with other properties owned and controlled by Facebook.
The change appears to be a dramatic about-face for WhatsApp, a company that claims ‘respect for your privacy’ is encoded in its DNA and has become an end-to-end encryption standard for all chats as of 2016.
That said, one could read the policy change as a move towards more openness – WhatsApp may have already collected and shared all of this data, before deciding to define the scope of the data involved in this latest update. If so, an effort for clarity has mainly led to more consternation.
However, WhatsApp has said other things. In a comment provided to PCMag, a spokesperson noted that – from a functional standpoint – very little would change for existing WhatsApp users, and that people who had previously chosen not to share data with Facebook in 2016 would remain excluded, even after accepting the new conditions. In comments provided to Ars Technica In the wake of the news, Facebook also said the change was primarily focused on changing the way businesses interact with their customers on the platform. Meanwhile, Niamh Sweeney, Director of WhatsApp Policy for the EMEA region, noted on Twitter that users in Europe won’t have to worry about sharing their data with Facebook, at least for ads.