WhatsApp has been sharing data with Facebook for some time, but this was only an option for users, so they could decide whether to do so or not.
WhatsApp updates terms and conditions: what this is all about
The changes to WhatsApp’s policy refer to the gathering and treatment of the data. The service reported three main changes: how it treats data, how businesses can use Facebook’s hosted services, and how it partners with Facebook to offer integrations.
But what does this mean? To help you better understand the new changes, here are some questions and answers that will make the picture clearer.
Will WhatsApp, Facebook, and their companies read my conversations?
This topic is one of the biggest concerns of users, but you should know that there is no risk. These services will not be able to read your conversations in any way, as they offer end-to-end encryption.
This encryption guarantees that only those who communicate (sender and receiver) can read the messages. Therefore, it is not true that the service can spy on third party conversations.
What data does WhatsApp collect?
The service collects user information such as phone number (required to create the account) and other data such as brand, model, and phone provider to operate, improve, understand, support, customize, and promote its services. It also collects profile information such as name, device location, and payment data from WhatsApp.
What if I don’t accept the new policy?
The service refers you to their help center, where they claim that users who don’t agree with the terms have to unsubscribe. For some privacy advocates, this condition has been arbitrary, and they describe it as an extortionist action that deliberately says: accept that we steal your data or leave.
Do these changes affect all users?
There are exceptions, specifically in the European Union. European users will not be affected by this update due to the General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR is a regulation that governs the protection of user data living in the European region.
Facebook emphasized that there will be no changes in this region. Although the update message affects all users, the company assured that it does not use this information to improve products or advertisements in Europe.
Other apps for instant messaging
If you don’t agree with the new way WhatsApp will treat your data, you can use other instant messaging options to fulfill your communication needs. Two of the most popular applications are Signal and Telegram, and both have significantly increased their downloads after the controversy of the WhatsApp update.
According to Sensor Tower data, Signal, for example, got almost 8 million downloads worldwide (between January 6 and 10). And according to Apptopia data, in the same period, Telegram has achieved 5.6 million downloads. This service also announced that its active users exceed 500 million. Both Signal and Telegram collect fewer data, so they have become a useful alternative for many users.