WhatsApp Now Will Share Your Phone Number And Data With Facebook But You Can Opt Out

Last Updated on September 6th, 2016.

WhatsApp will now share your phone number with Facebook, even if you are using a separate number for it, in order to “enable more targeted advertising” and fight spam. If both services are installed on the same device, Facebook will be able to pull up any phone numbers associated with WhatsApp through the device identifier. WhatsApp’s privacy policy was updated with the new statement earlier on Thursday.

“For example, if someone is using Facebook in abusive fashion, sending malicious links to users and we are able to identify that account also on WhatsApp, we can disable that account and its services rather than just on Facebook,”

The new update will also positively affect Facebook’s Custom Audience ad platform for businesses, by displaying more “relevant ads” by pulling data for different phone numbers associated with the two services.

“For example, if you sign up to your local flower shop’s mailing list using the same mobile phone number that you use for your WhatsApp account, and they decide to advertise on Facebook, you may see their ads on Facebook,” the WhatsApp rep explained.

Thankfully, users will be able to opt out of sharing information with Facebook “for any sort of products or ad experiences”, although their phone numbers will still be shared between both services. While WhatsApp stresses that it won’t “post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and won’t sell, share, or give your number to advertisers”, the privacy policy change will result in WhatsApp contacts appearing as friend suggestions on Facebook.

How To Opt out

WhatsAppWisely, Facebook has provided a way to opt out of all this if it hadn’t done so, it could have faced an exodus from WhatsApp, with users electing to join one of its many rivals, such as Telegram or Viber.

When accepting the terms and conditions in the updated app, you have to click “read,” rather than blindly accepting them. There you will see a control at the bottom of the screen inviting you to “uncheck” the box giving your permission. If you inadvertently agree to the new terms, you’ll have 30 days to change your mind and toggle the settings in your account.

It’s also worth noting here that non-Facebook users can continue using WhatsApp as is, there will be no requirement to set up a Facebook account. This is the first privacy policy change that WhatsApp has made since its acquisition by Facebook in 2014.

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