WhatsApp open for business

It is the first time that WhatsApp has changed its privacy policy since Facebook bought the app in 2014.

The new policy will connect Facebook and WhatsApp accounts, meaning that the app can share users’ phone numbers with Facebook.

This will give the social media juggernaut access to more data concerning individuals, which will open up the privacy protection debate.

>See also: WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption ‘as fake as Kim Kardashian’s booty’ says hacker

Messages will continue to be encrypted, but the changes will mean it will be able to gain access to further data like device type and software information.

The change to WhatsApp’s privacy policy means that businesses will be able to send messages directly to individuals using the app.

This could range from a doctor’s appointment notification to a flight reminder from the specific business.

WhatsApp said they would also allow “marketing” messages, but it would not display banner adverts in the app.

>See also: Will WhatsApp trigger an encryption revolution?

“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,” WhatsApp said.

“We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers.”

The intentions sound reasonable, but just in case the invasion of privacy feels too much users can opt out of sharing data with Facebook. Ironically, this entails agreeing to the privacy policy with 30 days.  

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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