Facebook aquired Whatsapp a while back, vowing to protect the privacy of its users’ personal information with its last dying breath. A year or two later, it backtracks and decides it wants spin your data into gold after all – and if users don’t like it, they can delete their accounts.
WhatsApp now intends to hand over your phone number and account information to Facebook for targeted ads.
In a blog post, WhatsApp announced it would begin sharing names and phone numbers with its parent company, to allow its more than 1 billion users “to communicate with businesses that matter to you too” – like notifications from delivery services or your bank, for example.
Facebook will also use that data to make friend suggestions and combine that data with the reams of information it has already collected so that it can tailor ads even more specifically to your interests.
Users are not happy about this at all as it goes against what Facebook had promised, to keep the services separate. Its starting to seem like Facebook is not ethical, by trying to use their users’ data to generate revenue. This has caused users of the services to start looking for alternatives as they now feel like they are being taken advantage of.
Tech news site Gizmodo sums up the feeling of many tech observers: “The sentiment that WhatsApp is an app that protects and cares for your privacy is no longer a reality. It was nice while it lasted.”
Some used Reddit to voice their disappointment, like Redditor Rakajj: “WhatsApp just lost a user. Was just a matter of time once the FB acquisition went through. Guess it’s time to finally give Telegram a whirl.”
Basically Facebook is using whatsapp to build an even bigger advertising profile of its users.
If that’s too much for you, you have 30 days to opt out of data sharing. You can switch to a more private messaging service, like Telegram or Signal, which doesn’t rely on an advertising-based business model. Or you can keep calm and carry on using WhatsApp and Facebook – at least, until the next outrage arises.