Recently instant messaging platform WhatsApp announced an update to its terms and conditions, signalling the first major adjustment to its Ts & Cs that will lead it down a monetisation route.
Since this announcement, there have been some falsehoods (it’s not a government-led cybersecurity initiative) and questions around what this actually means to WhatsApp users and the information that will now be shared with WhatsApp’s parent company, Facebook.
The following is a list of 8 things you need to know about this adjustment and just what that pop-up message you received from WhatsApp actually means
Family Values First – WhatsApp will share information with Facebook and its companies
WhatsApp will share information related to its users’ accounts with Facebook in order to help coordinate accounts and create a better user experience. This means that the info shared such as your phone number can be passed on to Facebook subsidiaries like Instagram and Oculus VR.
It’s for SOME information, not all of it
WhatsApp has mentioned a limited amount of information being shared with Facebook. For now, the examples provided have been account related information such as your phone number, the type of operating system you use and the last time you were active.
It’s motivated by advertising, abuse, and accuracy
WhatsApp has justified the need to share information with its planned efforts to offer users targeted advertising and in the process remedy any threat of spam and abuse, while also providing an accurate count of users.
Banner ads on WhatsApp are still a No-No
The targeted ad route is as far as WhatsApp will go down the ads path. According to its management, WhatsApp still won’t allow third party banner adverts, ensuring that the application doesn’t become a spam centre of sorts.
Your messages will still be private
None of your communication with any other WhatsApp user or group will be shared with Facebook or any other entity. Thanks to WhatsApp’s End to End encryption the company will not be able to access your messages and neither will Facebook or any other third party.
None of your messages or details are going to be posted on Facebook
Whatever account information that is being shared with Facebook will not be posted on Facebook or Instagram so don’t worry about your private messages ending up in some Facebook server or pasted on your timeline.
It’s not compulsory – You can stop WhatsApp from sharing your number with Facebook
If you had already agreed to the updated Terms of Service you can still opt out. You have 30 days to do so. Opt out by going to Settings, then Account and selecting the Share my account info tab. You can uncheck the box there.
WhatsApp is bringing businesses on board
Remember the advertising angle mentioned above? This means that WhatsApp will be opening “merchant” services that provide businesses with a chance to target specific users with advertisements as well as info related to transactions, delivery notifications, appointments, and product and service updates.
It’s something along the lines of what Messenger adopted last year and services that have been incorporated by other IM platforms like WeChat as a way of making money of an extensive user base.