August 30th 2016
Click ‘Agree’, and here’s what happens: WhatsApp will share its user data (including yours) with Facebook, the giant which purchased it back in 2014.
At the time, WhatsApp’s founder assured its users that their data would remain private, stating: “Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible”.
The new changes give Facebook visibility of the phone number you use with your WhatsApp account, giving them a way to track you that’s shared across both sites, and helping Facebook to gather data for its lucrative advertising activity. Critics are also suggesting there’s a risk that your chats – which you probably regard as being private – could also be compromised.
Two ways to opt out
WhatsApp does not make this obvious – far from it – but there are two ways in which you can opt out of the new terms and in doing so ensure that no data is shared with Facebook. However, it is important that you do this quickly, if you choose to.
1. This method can be used only if you have not yet accepted the new terms presented to you when you open the app. Do not click ‘Agree’, but select the small ‘read more option Untick the statement that begins ‘Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook’.
2. If you have already accepted the new terms, don’t worry. If it is within 30 days of accepting, you can still opt out by going to the app’s settings menu, selecting the account tab and revoking the ‘Share my account info’ button.
It is not yet clear whether opting out (or revoking permission) will change the user experience either on WhatsApp or Facebook, but we think it is good to know that you have a choice.