Data sharing between Facebook and WhatsApp 

Users have been wondering and concerned about the amount of data that will pass between the two platforms since Facebook purchased WhatsApp in 2014. As part of the privacy policy refresh, WhatsApp also removed a section about opting out of sharing certain data with Facebook, which stated that if you are an existing user, you can choose not to have your WhatsApp account information shared with Facebook to improve your Facebook ads and product experiences.

In 2016, WhatsApp's terms of service were updated. WhatsApp will share its users' phone numbers with Facebook, as well as analytics such as the devices and operating systems they use, according to the user agreement. Previously, no data was exchanged between the two, which was more in line with WhatsApp's original concept of being a private messaging service. While the phone numbers will not be sold to advertisers, the data will be linked to allow Facebook to better identify WhatsApp users and serve them more precisely targeted advertisements. Facebook claims that the move will improve user accounting across its platforms by identifying overlap and providing a better understanding of the number of people it serves. Those who only have a WhatsApp account and do not have a Facebook account will be unaffected by the change. 

The most significant recent changes are how user data will be processed in the future, how businesses can use Facebook services to manage WhatsApp chats, and how WhatsApp partners with Facebook to "offer integrations" with Facebook Inc. products. WhatsApp shares a great deal of information with Facebook, including your phone number, account details, files of how long and how often you use WhatsApp, information about how you engage with other users, device identifiers, and other device details like IP address, operating system, app version, mobile network, and so on. Transaction and payment data, cookies, and location information are all totally acceptable to share with Facebook. This means WhatsApp may now share more user data with Facebook than it did previously.

The new privacy policy for WhatsApp offers no opt-out. Users who want to limit data collection from Facebook, a company that has been embroiled in numerous privacy scandals, will be disappointed by the upcoming change.

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We speak the language of Technology & Internet. We understand how the law interacts with Technology & Internet. Cyber Crime Chambers is a boutique firm specializing in internet laws and digital forensic evidence.


B.A., B.L., (Hons) IPDP., (London)
Pgd IPR., Pgd Cyber Law., Msc., (IT)
Advocate, Madras High Court

Karthikeyan, is a renowned cyber law expert, who is also the Managing Partner of Law Office of Karthikeyan, a reputed law firm based in Chennai.

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