Home Technology No WhatsApp for you after February 8 unless you give Facebook permission to harvest your data

No WhatsApp for you after February 8 unless you give Facebook permission to harvest your data

2 min read
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Many people are very wary of Facebook and its intrusive methods towards gaining access to our personal data and privacy. When it comes to messaging app WhatsApp however, people are far more willing to share very personal and private information with one another in what has been deemed a far more secure app due to its end-to-end encryption. The problem here is that Facebook owns WhatsApp, and now the company is coming for your personal data on it as well.

The company updated its terms and conditions this week in a message which was sent out to its more than 2 billion users. While most people treated the update legalese as a blink and you will miss it update, the truth is that there was actually some key information mentioned. The new update detailed the type of information the company will now be collecting from all users, as reported by ArsTechnica:

  • User phone numbers
  • Other people’s phone numbers stored in address books
  • Profile names
  • Profile pictures
  • Status message including when a user was last online
  • Diagnostic data collected from app logs
  • Purchases
  • Financial information
  • Location
  • Contacts
  • User content
  • Identifiers
  • Usage data and
  • Diagnostics

As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from and shares information with, this family of companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings

This information will be used for advertising purposes and shared with various business as part of the company’s efforts to monetise WhatsApp even further and turn its massive user base into a commercial hub for the company. Perhaps the biggest issue at stake here though is how Facebook sprung this update on users without any press releases or prior communication, taking many people by surprise.  

These changes come a month after Apple started requiring iOS app makers, including WhatsApp, to detail the information they collect from users. It’s likely though that this is unrelated, and Facebook’s current plans were always on the roadmap for WhatsApp.

Whereas in the past, users could opt-out of any data collection, Facebook is now making this mandatory and has indicated that all those who don’t accept the revamped privacy policy by February 8 will no longer be able to use the app.

I guess the real big question will be to see whether users move away from WhatsApp and onto other messaging platforms or if they continue to let Facebook collect all their data despite the existing concerns.

Last Updated: January 8, 2021

24 Comments

  1. HairyEwok

    January 8, 2021 at 08:50

    Well that’s your entire digital profile being taken, even financial information…. One data breach and it’s peoples entire lifes in danger, and Facebook seems to have some of those from time to time.
    FYI, alternative messaging apps you can use are Signal and Telegram if there’s people who want to make the move away from WhatsApp

    Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      January 9, 2021 at 21:37

      I’d highly recommend Signal purely because of its end user encryption but if you just want a good IM to chat with your family, with some neat little features, Telegram is perfect too (it just doesn’t have the same level of encryption).

      Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      January 9, 2021 at 21:37

      I’d highly recommend Signal purely because of its end user encryption but if you just want a good IM to chat with your family, with some neat little features, Telegram is perfect too (it just doesn’t have the same level of encryption).

      Reply

  2. RideBoks

    January 8, 2021 at 09:00

    Does the purchases and financial information include info from other apps as in banking? or are there versions of WhatsApp that allow you to make purchases that they are referring to?

    Reply

    • HairyEwok

      January 8, 2021 at 09:11

      WhatsApp has this new feature called WhatsApp Pay, where you can pay people directly from the app. Here’s an explained snippet from the Web:

      WhatsApp Pay allows users to send money only to their contacts after which it enables UPI ID. WhatsApp Pay users could enter the UPI ID and send money. Through QR code, WhatsApp users can also send money to people who are not in their contact list.

      But to do these payments you’ll obviously will have to link you bank card or credit card to it.

      Reply

      • RideBoks

        January 8, 2021 at 09:53

        Nifty feature unfortunately with too much baggage

        Reply

  3. CodeDisQus

    January 9, 2021 at 18:50

    It’s crazy how much of a wave this is creating. Even “mainstram normies” lol are asking what are the alternative messaging apps.

    I guess the only question is, which one will people flock to, Telegram or Signal? I’ve got both so I’ll see, but it definitely looks like whatsapp is going to take a hit

    Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      January 9, 2021 at 21:40

      Dude, when your kid’s creche sends a message saying that they’re migrating off whatsapp (and will be deleting their whatsapp account in the next few days) and moving to Telegram, you know the Zuck has shot himself in the foot. Normies are slowly waking up, and maybe it’s too late, but it’s definitely something to see.

      Reply

  4. Mandalorian Jim

    January 9, 2021 at 21:37

    lol, one of the benefits of playing around with different IMs is that I’ve been on Telegram for years (and have now joined Signal). I don’t want the Zuck to have more access to my information, I’m deleting my Whatsapp profile by the end of this month.

    Funny thing is, I actually set it up originally so that there’s no connection between my Whatsapp account and my facebook account. Neither share the same information accept maybe my first name, and facebook isn’t on my phone but on my PC and always behind a VPN. Whatsapp has always been on my phone.

    Granted, I’m sure, FB’s analytics have probably worked out that I’m the same user, and that both accounts belong to one individual, but I’m not going to give them that data willingly, and for that reason they can suck it! https://media3.giphy.com/media/h0Xez8ow1UOVq/giphy.gif

    Reply

  5. Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

    January 11, 2021 at 05:11

    I have been warning about this for the last 6 years.

    Reply

    • Mark Treloar

      January 11, 2021 at 07:21

      So I could be wrong, but doesn’t this violate DPA laws?

      Reply

      • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

        January 15, 2021 at 04:11

        I am not clued up on law so cannot speculate.. I am pretty sure though that the legal minds in that trillion dollar conglomerate have done their research and made sure that they aren’t technically violating anything.

        Law is one thing. Ethics are another.

        Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      January 12, 2021 at 01:56

      I know you have, I remember you posting about this sort of thing on many occasions – even last time when we were talking about browsers and why people should get their bums off google chrome.

      https://media4.giphy.com/media/7jxq3zVLu7nWg/giphy.gif

      Reply

      • CodeDisQus

        January 12, 2021 at 02:03

        Glad I’ve been using Firefox for that past couple of years!

        Reply

      • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

        January 15, 2021 at 04:09

        This vindication makes me feel so superior now XD

        Reply

      • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

        January 15, 2021 at 05:15

        Try a little experiment with your friends/family who have a facbook account:

        On WhatsApp, chat about something that you’ve never chatted about before, a product that you’ve never fathomed any use for, and watch your FB feed.

        WIthin a few days you’ll get an advert for what you chatted about.

        I’ve tried this with many people, and it worked every time.

        Reply

        • Mandalorian Jim

          January 16, 2021 at 01:02

          Or the best one yet, when you chat to someone on WhatsApp who isn’t in your contact list (like a delivery person), and if they also have facebook, guess who gets suggested as a friend….?

          I saw this first hand with my wife’s account. She had both WhatsApp and Facebook on her phone.

          I’ve never encountered that because the two apps lived separate from each other, Facebook has my old cell number, and WhatsApp had my new one, and I purposefully kept one behind a VPN on my PC (facebook) and never on my phone, while the other one was just on my phone.

          Hahaha! Yeah, I’ve uninstalled whatsapp, and deleted my account.

          Reply

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            January 16, 2021 at 02:09

            Life is quite beautiful without social media, I have to say. Been a good few years since I deleted all SM accounts except whatsapp, and never looked back

          • Mandalorian Jim

            January 16, 2021 at 03:34

            I’m actually considering going off Facebook as well. The only reason I had it was because it put me into contact with friends from overseas or past jobs or even from school, but recently I’ve noticed I barely speak to them any more. So what exactly is the point of it?

            You get a few likes on photos, but there’s no real discussion or chats. It’s basically just a graveyard of former acquaintances, and a reminder of who you once knew.

            If someone really wanted to chat, they know how to reach me on telegram or signal, or even email.

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            January 20, 2021 at 08:51

            Exactly. If you wanna talk, you have my number, is what I say.

          • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

            January 20, 2021 at 08:52

            And yes, by all means, delete your FB account, and before long you will wonder why you wasted so many cumulative days, months, weeks on that thing.

      • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

        January 15, 2021 at 05:15

        Try a little experiment with your friends/family who have a facbook account:

        On WhatsApp, chat about something that you’ve never chatted about before, a product that you’ve never fathomed any use for, and watch your FB feed.

        WIthin a few days you’ll get an advert for what you chatted about.

        I’ve tried this with many people, and it worked every time.

        Reply

  6. Mandalorian Jim

    January 15, 2021 at 04:50

    It also seems like Facebook might be running afoul of the POPI act because of their policies for WhatsApp. The Information Regulator is looking into it. I doubt much will come from it, but you never know, maybe government will get something right… for once.

    Reply

    • Gr8_Balls_o_Fire

      January 15, 2021 at 05:12

      It’s only a violation if Facebook takes your contact list’s numbers and then contacts those people without THEIR permission.

      Very doubtful that Facebook’s lawyers would be trumped by our fantastically able system.

      Reply

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