In a blog post dated June 18, 2012 titled “Why we don’t sell ads”; WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum uses the memorable quote from the 1999 drama movie, Fight Club: “Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.” to explain why he and Brian Acton are strongly opposed to selling users data to advertisers; even though that was part of their former jobs at Yahoo!
It seemed that Mr. Kuom was so determined not to take part in data-collecting game. And for nearly 6 good years, WhatsApp stood out form its instant messaging counterparts thanks to this refreshing feature. Unfortunately, it didn’t last.
Learn how to unblock WhatsApp calls in UAE HERE!
The Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp effect
In October 2014 the giant data-mining social network; Facebook purchased the most popular instant messaging app, WhatsApp for $19 billion. Following the deal announcement, and on the contrary of all the assumptions, WhatsApp didn’t get instantly involved in selling ads. In fact, a further step has been taken towards users’ privacy with the end-to-end encryption feature confirming that not even Facebook has the ability to read WhatsApp messages, raising questions about whether Mr. Zuckerberg has made the right choice when he decided to acquire an ad-free app. But later on, it turned out that not all the new features are in favor of more than 1 billion active users.
In a blog post dated August 25, 2016 titled “Looking ahead for WhatsApp” WhatsApp’s terms and privacy police first update in four years has been announced.
“But by coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of.”
Which users data will be shared?
Mainly, phone number you’ve used to sign up for WhatsApp, your contact list as well as some usage information such as when you’ve last used the service. However, these data will not be shared with your Facebook friends by any means. WhatsApp emphasized that content of chats will not be shared and that end-to-end is still effective to guarantee maximum privacy.
Check our tips and tricks for safer WhatsApp use
How to stop sharing my WhatsApp account data with Facebook?
From “Settings” menu, choose “Account” then uncheck the option “Share my account info”. This will guarantee that the information shared with Facebook will not be used to show you relevant ads. However, according to what is mentioned in WhatsApp FAQ tutorial, “The Facebook family of companies will still receive and use this information for other purposes such as improving infrastructure and delivery systems, understanding how our services or theirs are used, securing systems, and fighting spam, abuse, or infringement activities.”.
Impact of the shameful “privacy update”
Germany’s data protection agency stating that there is no legal basis for Facebook to collect and store WhatsApps’ user data, has ordered Facebook not only to stop collecting user data but also to delete any data it has already received from WhatsApp users.
The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information said that WhatsApp’s privacy update is infringing data protection law and needs to obtain the approval of 35 million users in Germany. Facebook said it would appeal against the order.
In a world where you and your personal data are a target, always, always think before you click.