The popular messaging application WhatsApp will start to share a limited amount of data with Facebook, including user phone numbers. The app was acquired by the social network in 2014.
WhatsApp will integrate better with Facebook by sharing user data
The WhatsApp developers have announced that their messaging application will start to share a limited amount of user data that includes user phone numbers with Facebook. The aim of this move is to allow Facebook better friend suggestion by mapping the social connections of users across the two services. The social network will also be able to deliver more relevant ads to the users. The data from WhatsApp are going to be used to track usage metrics and fight spam distribution.
WhatsApp wants to encourage business users to use their service when contacting clients. Users of the service will be able to “manage their communications” and banners on the applications from third-parties won’t be displayed. The developers are still going to utilize end-to-end encryption for security to reassure it’s users that measures to protect their data are taken.
The app has been popular with privacy-minded smartphone users as it uses strong encryption to protect the messages. To this moment the service has been available without any user data being analyzed to serve advertisements. The policy of the developers has defended user privacy. This has spawned several law enforcement conflicts. A famous example was the temporary ban of WhatsApp by a Brazilian court because the provider refused to hand over user messages to the authorities.
As WhatsApp is now owned by Facebook, the social media has begun to introduce changes in it’s policy. There are no major user reactions yet, but journalists speculate that some users will be forced to stop using the application due to privacy concerns. All users have 30 days to disallow the metrics sharing. This is done via the Settings > Account menu. The collected data will not feature content analysis or other means of intrusion of privacy.