Facebook owned company, WhatsApp, announced today that it’s updating its privacy to reflect changes to its features as well as its growing connection with Facebook. This is the first time WhatsApp is modifying its privacy content in four years.
The new change would allow Facebook to target advertising at WhatsApp users who are also on the social media platform and help WhatsApp fight spam on its service. In essence WhatsApp will now share your phone number with Facebook for better ad targeting on Facebook and friend recommendations, as well as improved statistics and spam prevention. It is important to note that WhatsApp still remains ad free, the ad targeting affects Facebook only and your number isn’t being shared with anyone publicly, it just feeds into Facebook’s ad algorithm. Additionally, your messages remain encrypted.
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. – WhatsApp.
As said earlier WhatsApp messages remain encrypted; “Even as we coordinate more with Facebook in the months ahead, your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else,” the company said.
Even though you can opt out from using the data for improved ad targeting, WhatsApp will still share that 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.”
WhatsApp Messenger was founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, both former employees of Yahoo!. It is a proprietary cross-platform instant messaging client for smartphones. It uses the Internet to send text messages, images, video, user location and audio media messages to other users using standard cellular mobile numbers. The name “WhatsApp” was used because it sounded like “what’s up. As of February 2016, WhatsApp had a user base of up to one billion, making it the most globally popular messaging application.
WhatsApp Inc. is based in Mountain View, California and has been acquired by Facebook Inc. on February 19, 2014, for approximately US$19.3 billion.