WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy: All You Need to Know

WhatsApp's New Privacy Policy
Data Privacy & Security

WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy: All You Need to Know

With the introduction of its new privacy policy, WhatsApp created a lot of confusion among the people. Let’s have a look at the policy to get an in-depth idea about it.

For users in India, WhatsApp revised its terms of service and privacy policy and sent in-app alerts for the latest update to both iOS and Android smartphone users confirming that they must approve it or they will lose access to their account. With the newly revised policy, the Facebook-owned messaging app shares insight into the sort of data it receives from users and even the data it shares with other Facebook users.

What Data WhatsApp Collects and Shares With Facebook?

WhatsApp highlights details it shares with its parent company, Facebook, and why, in the privacy policy. “As part of the Facebook Companies, WhatsApp receives information from and shares information with the other Facebook Companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings, including the Facebook Company Products,” the new WhatsApp policy notes.

WhatsApp's new privacy policy explained in detail

The messaging platform shows that the data it exchanges with Facebook contains information on account registration, specifics on how users communicate with others, including business, information on mobile devices, IP addresses, and others.

The policy also informs that when users rely on “third-party services or other Facebook Company Products that are integrated with our Services, those third-party services may receive information about what you or others share with them.” For instance, users either use Google Drive or iCloud to back up chats, and that by default provides their services access to WhatsApp chats/messages. The messaging platform also mentions that “third-party services or other Facebook Company Products, their own terms and privacy policies will govern your use of those services and products.”

WhatsApp highlights that it collects some more information from devices such as “battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network, contact information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP), language and time zone, IP address, device operations information, and identifiers (including identifiers unique to Facebook Company Products associated with the same device or account).” WhatsApp also confirms that users who use Payments in India will need to provide additional information including payment account and transaction information. 

WhatsApp on Storing User Data

In its privacy policy, WhatsApp states that it uses the worldwide networks and data centers of Facebook, including those in the US, to store consumer data.

WhatsApp's new privacy policy explained in detail

This is the first time the platform has talked publicly about capturing and preserving data. The proposal also notes that some of the details will be moved to the US or other sections where the associate companies of Facebook are located. It adds, “these transfers are necessary to provide the global Services set forth in our Terms.” WhatsApp’s new policy states that even if a user does not use their location-related features, they collect “IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (city, country).”

Why Should One Accept WhatsApp Privacy Policy?

You should be aware that the messaging platform changes its rules frequently if you have been using WhatsApp for over a few years. What’s new about the current proposal is that WhatsApp freely offers information on customer data processing and storage for the first time. Users have time to embrace the revised rules by February 8, 2021, or will have to lose access to their account.

As a result of the court case on its new privacy policy, WhatsApp had to explain again that the policy remains the same for people texting their friends and families. It also explained that Facebook users can read their business messages for marketing purposes. The new explanation introduces a difference between personal and business messages. It notes that the latter alone pertains to the latest privacy policies and the former remains unchanged. 

Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see or hear your calls from your private messages. Private communications are secured and will continue to be so by end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp does not maintain track of who is texting or calling someone, which it finds a “privacy and security risk” of such a data dump. WhatsApp can not see a location that you have shared with a friend because end-to-end encryption covers that too. WhatsApp does not exchange connections between a user and Facebook, or any other app. For advertisement purposes, no data from communities would be exchanged with Facebook and all the correspondence inside is encrypted end-to-end. So, whether you’re a service person an RWA member, or a school party, there’s nothing to think about because nothing changes for you.

Related: What is Omnichannel Customer Experience and Why Should You Do It?

How Are Business Messages Different?

When it comes to business communications, where recent privacy updates have been introduced, the interplay between WhatsApp and Facebook, the parent company, becomes more apparent. WhatsApp also explained that certain large companies will need to use secure Facebook hosting services to manage WhatsApp users’ chats, answer questions, and send helpful information such as purchase receipts. And “whether you communicate with a business by phone, email, or WhatsApp, it can see what you’re saying and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook”. But, WhatsApp says it will “clearly label conversations with businesses that are choosing to use hosting services from Facebook”.

WhatsApp's new privacy policy explained in detail

When you connect with a brand, the labels become apparent, and consumers need to determine if they want to be in a chat, the specifics of which may be used to display targeted advertisements. You may also open up your choices for targeted advertising on other Facebook items such as Instagram by using the Shops functionality on WhatsApp. So presumably, business messaging that WhatsApp has been increasingly triggering in many markets would eventually result in advertising focused on the company’s priorities.

When you use WhatsApp with a company and have a customer list, the company on the other hand can still see the chat and appreciate your interests. This could be used on Facebook sites to show you ads. You may use any of the insights to run advertisements targeting your clients on Facebook and other services if you are the company owner.

Should I Stay on WhatsApp?

When you use it mainly to connect with friends and relatives, there is no reason to get out of WhatsApp. The greatest bonus of WhatsApp is that it is universal and is used by everyone on your contact list. It makes no sense if you plan to abandon WhatsApp but continue to use Facebook tools such as Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook itself.

Comment (1)

  1. ThinkStart Private Limited

    Great post. Really impressive! Thank you for sharing this with us.

    June 7, 2021 at 11:58 am

Leave your thought here

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *