Categories: privacy Technology

WhatsApp to share your user data with Facebook

WhatsApp to start sharing user data with Facebook

Finally, which was feared has happened now. When the popular cross-platform messaging App, WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014, it was assumed that the very premise of privacy on which the App was built, would be shattered. WhatsApp had gained trust and popularity based on its no ads policy and respect for users privacy. Naturally, Facebook buying WhatsApp had users worried that their data would somehow be shared with the social networking behemoth.

At that time it was known that it was just a matter of time when Facebook integrated WhatsApp into its plan of minting money using 1 billion WhatsApp users. WhatsApp Co-founder Jan Koum has written a detailed blog post trying to assuage WhatsApp users frustrations. In the post, Koum said “Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible.”

“But what WhatsApp users feared is happening now and Koum may have to eat his own words. WhatsApp has finally fallen to the lure of money and is loosening some of its own restrictions, and has announced it will begin sharing a limited amount of user data — including individuals’ phone numbers — with parent company Facebook.

Officially, WhatsApp says that sharing this information means Facebook can offer better friend suggestions by mapping users’ social connections across the two services, and deliver more relevant ads on the social network. Additional analytics data from WhatsApp will also be shared to track usage metrics and fight spam.

However, WhatsApp users are convinced that this a sham and their data will sooner rather than later be used for advertising and making money for Facebook. WhatsApp is keen to preempt criticism, and says that although it’s changing its privacy policy, it continues to support end-to-end encryption. “Even as we coordinate more with Facebook in the months ahead, your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them,” says the company in a blog post. “Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else. 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.”

This, however, opens golden gates for other cross-platform messaging Apps like Hike if they can assure users that their data won’t be misused like what WhatsApp will be doing now on.


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