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Update: WhatsApp will now share your information with Facebook, here’s how you can opt out
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Four years after its inception, and more than two years after being acquired by Facebook, WhatsApp has today updated its privacy policies for the first time. The updated policies hint at some of the features WhatsApp has recently launched, as well as some that are on their way. There’s however one aspect of the updated policies that has caught our eye — WhatsApp will now share your information with Facebook. Though this was inevitable ever since Facebook shelled out $22 billion for the messaging app, it may still come as a shock for many. Fortunately, there is still a way you can stop WhatsApp from sharing your information with Facebook. Read on.

One of the primary reasons why WhatsApp wants to be closely integrated with Facebook is to change how businesses communicate with their customers. Facebook will use the shared information to improve its friends suggestions feature and help businesses get a wider reach by improving the ads targeted at users. WhatsApp, on the other hand, will improve its spam fighting capabilities, and will also be able to improve tracking of basic metrics like number of unique users among others. It however assures that there won’t be any banner or pop-up ads on the messaging app.

WhatsApp also hinted at new features that would be coming out over the next few months. The company will be targeting businesses and how they can interact better with users over WhatsApp. For instance, you could soon get updates on WhatsApp for a package delivery or updates about your upcoming flight booking and so on. This has been a much requested feature from brands, who wanted to reach out to its customers over WhatsApp. The messaging service says that these new features have prompted it to update its privacy policy.

That said, WhatsApp does allay fears that it will only be sharing a user’s mobile phone number and nothing more. “Even as we coordinate more with Facebook in the months ahead, your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else. We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers,” WhatsApp announced in a blog post about the updated privacy policy. Despite the assurances, there are those like me who are not really comfortable in their information being shared between companies. Fortunately, there is way to put a stop to it.

How to stop WhatsApp from sharing your information with Facebook

WhatsApp says that it has started gradually informing users of the updated privacy policies through its app. Existing users will receive a notification about the updated policies, but before clicking on the Agree button, tap on the ‘Read more…..’ button. This will open the entire contents of the policies, but at the bottom of the screen you will see a short message alongside a check mark. This message reads, “Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook to improve my Facebook ads and product experiences. Your chats and phone number will not be shared onto Facebook regardless of the setting.” Uncheck the box, and hit then hit the Agree button.

In case you missed the message, and accidentally hit Agree without changing the setting, there is still an alternate way. On WhatsApp, head over to Settings -> Account -> Share my account info. Uncheck the box and you are done. Once you have agreed to WhatsApp’s updated privacy policies, a user will only have 30 days to change the setting if they wish to.

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Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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