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WhatsApp’s Latest Data Sharing Policy Update Prompting Users To Join Competitor, “Signal”

You might have seen a pop-up on Whatsapp with new terms and conditions giving you an option to agree or delete your account. The popular messaging app is changing its privacy policy and users are set to lose their accounts if they do not agree to the update by February 8, 2021.

The pop-up is alerting users of Whatsapp’s intention to share data with social media platform, Facebook. Users are only given two options, to agree or visit the help centre through the link to delete their account. This said, many users have simply clicked to agree to the terms without reading through the fineprint.

A WhatsApp spokesperson told the Mirror: “As we’ve previously talked about, we’re updating our terms of service and privacy policy as we work to make WhatsApp a great way to get answers or help from a business.”

Read: WhatsApp to Ask for Messages As Proof If you Report an Account

“Privacy policy and terms updates are common in the industry and we’re providing users with ample notice to review the changes.”

Whatsapp’s website further describes the information Whatsapp shares with Facebook.

“WhatsApp currently shares certain categories of information with Facebook Companies.” the website reads.

“The information we share with the other Facebook Companies. includes your account registration information (such as your phone number), transaction data, service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using our Services, mobile device information, your IP address, and may include other information identified in the Privacy Policy section entitled ‘Information We Collect’ or obtained upon notice to you or based on your consent.”

Read also: WhatsApp Web To Get Call And Video Call Features

What is most interesting however, is that the policy changes are only applicable to users outside Europe and the UK.

Facebook said users in the regions would not see the data sharing changes but would need to accept the updated terms. The exception has been viewed as a win for EU privacy regulators.

Facebook issued a statement confirming that the changes would not affect the European region.

“For the avoidance of any doubt, it is still the case that WhatsApp does not share European region WhatsApp user data with Facebook for the purpose of Facebook using this data to improve its products or advertisements,” a spokesperson said.

Read also: How to Sync Your Whatsapp Business and Facebook Pages

The new privacy policy for European users says that “data can be shared with other Facebook companies to show personalized advertising and offers, make suggestions for content and help to complete purchases, among other reasons.”

However, Facebook says it will not use Whatsapp data for the specified purposes as it is still in negotiation with European Data Protection bodies.

The new update has prompted notable personalities such as Tesla Founder, Elon Musk urge users to switch to more secure messaging platforms such as Signal.

Read also: Facebook Looking To Integrate Messenger With Whatsapp

Signal has reported a surge in registrations, urging users to be patient as they wait for their confirmation codes as there was a delay.

“Verification codes are currently delayed across several providers because so many new people are trying to join Signal right now (we can barely register our excitement). We are working with carriers to resolve this as quickly as possible. Hang in there.” Signal said in a tweet.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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