WhatsApp to start sharing user data with Facebook

Phone numbers will be shared with Facebook to offer ‘better friend suggestions and more relevant ads’

James Vincent, Writing for The Verge:

After WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014, users worried that the messaging app’s strong stance on privacy might be compromised. Co-founder Jan Koum hoped to stem these fears, writing in a blog post at the time: “Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible.”

Today, though, the company is loosening some of its own restrictions, and has announced it will begin sharing a limited amount of user data — including individuals’ phone numbers — with parent company Facebook.

WhatsApp says that sharing this information means Facebook can offer better friend suggestions by mapping users’ social connections across the two services, and deliver more relevant ads on the social network. Additional analytics data from WhatsApp will also be shared to track usage metrics and fight spam.

Update 8/25/2016

According to Lifehacker there is a way to opt out of sharing your data with Facebook. I have verified this with my own WhatsApp account.

Thorin Klosowski, Writing for Lifehacker:

Facebook and WhatsApp announced a new data sharing plan that’ll improve targeted advertising and friend suggestions. If you’re not a fan of the idea of Facebook and WhatsApp cozying up so closely together, it’s easy to opt out.

You have two methods to do this. When you launch WhatsApp today, you’ll see an updated Terms of Service. At the bottom of the screen, there’s a checkbox. Uncheck the box, then tap Agree, and your data will not be shared.

If you already blindly went through and didn’t pay attention to that box, don’t worry, you can still opt out:

. Launch WhatsApp and tap Settings.

. Tap Account.

. Uncheck the box marked “Share my account info.”