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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Following backlash after changing its terms and privacy policy to consolidate a significant amount of data sharing with Facebook, WhatsApp is now assuring users about the privacy measures built into its app.


Last week, WhatsApp began informing users of updates to the app's terms of service and privacy policy. The updated agreements, which users must consent to in order to continue using WhatsApp, explicitly give parent company Facebook access to a large amount of user data. While WhatsApp has shared some user data with Facebook for years, this update consolidates data sharing for all users, including those that chose to opt-out of data sharing with Facebook in the past.

The updated terms help WhatsApp to integrate more closely into Facebook's family of products, as it aims to provide a more coherent experience to users across services, and enables the company to use gathered information on all users to display targeted ads. The widely-reported change was met with an outcry of displeasure on social media, leading to a rush to download rival messaging app Signal, and has even sparked an antitrust investigation in Turkey.

Via posts on social media, WhatsApp is now assuring users that "Our privacy policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family." It has also added to its FAQ to address users' privacy concerns relating to data sharing with Facebook.

The FAQ explains that WhatsApp and Facebook cannot see a user's private messages or hear their calls. Logs of who users are messaging and calling are not retained and shared location, contact information, and group membership is kept private.

WhatsApp suggests that the majority of data sharing with Facebook is derived from communicating with businesses that use hosting services from Facebook or after using Facebook-branded commerce services such as Shops. Either may result in targeted ads being shown to users.

However, it is noticeable that WhatsApp has mostly focused on what data is not shared with Facebook, rather than what is. The FAQ update does not acknowledge the fact, as stated under the updated privacy policy, that WhatsApp shares device and interaction information, IP address, and unspecified "other information" with Facebook.

Article Link: WhatsApp Affirms User Privacy Following Backlash Over Data Sharing With Facebook


macrumors 6502a
Mar 3, 2002
Three things:
1. If it is no biggie, as they claim, then why can I not opt out?
2. Why don't they state which information they really need and want to share, and how I or they will benefit? So I can say "ah, makes sense".
3. They have promised a lot of things in the past and then just made up their mind some time later. Such info panels are not binding at all. One year from now they will just say: Oh yes, that panel is not entirely correct. We share contacts now too. You agreed last year, read the terms.


macrumors 68030
Jun 20, 2009
Lincoln, UK
Facebook is for the stuff you would share with anyone you meet socially. WhatsApp is what you would share with close friends. People expect different levels of discretion for each. Break the trust of privacy and it is difficult to get it back. This is a big misstep by Facebook in assuming just because they have users that use both, that they can treat them the same on both platforms.


macrumors 6502
Jan 23, 2018
Facebook is interested in the metadata. Who knows whom. A lot can be analyzed via metadata.
Probably unofficially this metadata has been exchanged for a long time. I read about evidence of this in forums a long time ago.

I myself have never used WhatsApp. It has always been a bad messenger.

- Access to the address book. Privacy nightmare, especially since WhatsApp belongs to Facebook. But before that, too. In Signal, this is better solved from a privacy point of view. In Threema you don't need a phone number (it's optional).
- WhatsApp had many and serious security holes (especially in the early days).
- It is owned by Facebook. Everything from Facebook is bad and not usable, no matter what it is! Period!

Do not use WhatsApp! Do not use Facebook!


macrumors 6502a
Aug 13, 2020
I’ll never stress enough how Session app is by far the most privacy and anonymity oriented App there is.
Not even the phone number not the email are collected.
Way better than signal and telegram.
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