Even After Opting-Out WhatsApp Still Shares Information With Facebook For "Other Purposes"
When Facebook acquired WhatsApp, the founders of the messaging app assured their users that their data would remain private. However, recent events show that it is no longer the case.
Last week, WhatsApp updated its policies to hand over user information to its parent company Facebook, in a huge reversal of its previous policies. The new changes to the terms and conditions allow Facebook to see the phone number that people use with their WhatsApp account. This allows Facebook to track people that is shared across the two sites, helping the social media giant to gather data for ads. The company also claims that the new policy allows them to "offer better friend suggestions".
This new controversial policy has caused an uproar among the users of the messaging app. Many people on the internet feels that their personal data could end up compromised as part of the deal with Facebook. However, WhatsApp claims that users can choose to opt-out from data sharing with Facebook by rejecting the new policy. The company has revealed two ways for users to opt out of the deal, which did calm down some of the anger.
The first method is for users, who have not accepted the new terms. When WhatsApp shows a pop-up with new policy, do not click "Agree". Instead, instead navigate to the smaller "read more" option, and un-tick the box that says "Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook".
The second method is for those who accepted the new terms and will only work as long as it is within 30 days. To opt out after accepting the terms, head to the "Settings" menu in the app and tap the account tab. Here you will find a "Share my account info" button which you can use to revoke your permission.
However, a report reveals that opting out does stop Facebook from taking other information from users. While opting out the new terms and policy stop WhatsApp sending information to Facebook for "ads and products experiences", it does not opt people out of the various other data sharing agreements that WhatsApp has made with Facebook.
WhatsApp says that it will still share data with Facebook for "various other purposes". While the term "other purposes" is wide enough to cover things like fighting spam and improving security on both platforms, they could also use the data from WhatsApp for other things that you may not like.
The new terms not only caused outrage among the users, but also made the British authorities to start an investigation. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which oversees the use of data in the UK, has said that it is looking into the changes that WhatsApp has made to its terms and conditions. Though both of the companies are based outside of the UK, the ICO can regulate how the company uses the information of people in Britain.