29 August 2016

The New York Times: “Relaxing Privacy Vow, WhatsApp will share some data with Facebook”

“We don’t know your birthday. We don’t know your home address”, Mr. Koum wrote in a blog post at the time. “None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that.”

Two years later, in a move that is rankling some of the company’s more than one billion users, WhatsApp will soon begin to share some member information with Facebook.

WhatsApp said on Thursday that it would start disclosing the phone numbers and analytics data of its users to Facebook. It will be the first time the messaging service has connected users’ accounts to the social network to share data, as Facebook tries to coordinate information across its collection of businesses.

Mike Isaac & Mark Scott

Shocking! And by that I mean I’m shocked that it took this long; I’ve noticed a couple of times that Facebook suggested I should befriend people I had recently communicated with on WhatsApp, and who had no other obvious connection to me on Facebook, so I’ve long assumed they are secretly sharing data already. Then again waiting is a pretty good strategy: let WhatsApp grow and attract more users before starting to integrate their data with Facebook – the more WhatsApp grows, the bigger network effects will dissuade people from switching to alternative messaging apps.

Fortunately, you can opt out of sharing your account information with Facebook, at least for the next 30 days.

WhatsApp account sharing to Facebook

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