WhatsApp

With a new WhatsApp policy update knocking outdoors on February 8, discussions among users about how the messenger service will share data with its parent company, Facebook have taken over the internet. However, one major change that has hit the messaging application is the way data will be processed, how businesses can use Facebook services to manage WhatsApp chats, and how the app partners with Facebook to ‘offer integrations’ with products from Facebook Inc.

With financial and e-commerce on the table, privacy has become a talking worry for users. A lot of them speculating shifts to Signal–a messaging app, free and end-to-end encrypted. WhatsApp uses Signal’s protocol for its encryption. The app itself is not owned by any corporation and is run by a non-profit.

Shedding light on the privacy parts, where a popular discussion says that WhatsApp will share the messages with Facebook. The company denied it outrightly. WhatsApp said: “The update does not change WhatsApp’s data-sharing practices with Facebook. To add to that, it does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family… WhatsApp still remains deeply committed to protecting people’s privacy.”

However, WhatsApp does share information with its parent already. A WhatsApp user’s account registration information (phone number), transaction data (WhatsApp now has payments in India), service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses), mobile device information, and IP address are all shared.

Mark Zuckerberg highlights the importance of data sharing:

Highlighting the importance of data sharing, CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2019 talked about his cross-platform vision across Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp — he called it “interoperability”.

Instagram’s Direct Messages and Facebook Messenger have already been integrated. Facebook wants to bring more services to the app and has added a feature called Rooms. The integration has been taking place for a while now.

Whatsapp’s privacy policy:

About message storage, WhatsApp’s privacy policy says,

“once a message GETS delivered it is deleted from the SErver of the company immediately. WhatsApp stores a message only when it cannot be delivered instantly. the message could then possibly stay on its servers for up to 30 days. it will be retained in an encrypted form. That IS, as WhatsApp continues to try to deliver it. If undelivered even after 30 days, the message is deleted.”

 

The policy explains the way user data is shared with businesses. Content shared with a business on the app will be visible to “several people in that business”. This is important because it now has over 50m business accounts.

For the app, this is a potential monetization model. The policy talks about the fact that some “businesses could be working with third-party service providers (which may include Facebook). To help manage their communications with their customers”. To understand the information is being handled by businesses that you share with them. WhatsApp recommends that its users first read the “business’ privacy policy or contact the business directly”.

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Careful what you wish for?

The audiences across the globe have been frequently asking Facebook and the apps that it owns. That is, to check and resolve issues related to various illegal activities and stop them in its roots. However, the previous data policies did not make that possible. With this change in its basic policy, it allows that to be a possibility.

In short, WhatsApp has gone from being a Bruce Wayne + Lucious Fox (Dark Knight reference) to a publicly open observer now. No more hiding behind the bushes anymore!!