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Tuesday, November 9, 2021

WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy- How Will It Affect Your Account?

As part of WhatsApp privacy policy, was the statement, “Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA”. However, this is no longer will prove to be valid a month from now. The “Facebook-owned” instant messaging platform will be revamping its privacy policy. If you are alright with the changes in the policy, you can continue using it, else you can delete your account. 

Impact on WhatsApp Users

If you have been using WhatsApp and are worried about your data might be used by the company, you must surely go through this write-up. Read on to know more about what changes the company has introduced which will come into effect next month. 

What are the changes? 

We know that WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption. This means that your messages are safe. There are 3 updates that the company is introducing. These 3 are-

  1. The manner in which the app carries out data processing.
  2. The way in which businesses can make use of Facebook hosted services so that it can store services and facilitate managing chats on WhatsApp.
  3. The company intends to integrate products of Facebook with WhatsApp

What kind of data will WhatsApp gather? 

As far as hardware data is concerned, information pertaining to the “battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network, connection information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP), language and time zone, IP address, device operations information, and identifiers (including identifiers unique to Facebook Company Products associated with the same device or account)”. This does not come as a surprise but these were not included in the WhatsApp privacy policy

privacy policies

What will be shared with Facebook?

Just about everything will be shared with Facebook. The privacy policy indicates that IP address, phone number, mobile device information all will be shared with Facebook. “The information we share with the other Facebook Companies. Includes your account registration information (such as your phone number), transaction data, service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using our Service, mobile device information, your IP address, and may include other information identified in the Privacy Policy section ‘Information We Collect’ or obtained upon notice to you or based on your consent”., the privacy policy states. 

WhatsApp won’t have ads- But only for now

This instant messaging app has “refrained” from showing those advertisement banners and it also states that it has “no intention to introduce them” either. However, it also says that if ever it intends to do such a thing, the same will be updated in its privacy policy as well. 

So, you might get to see these ad banners on the screen in the near future. 

Storing data – What information will the app store?

According to the policy, if you are not using a location-based device, it will get your “IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (city, country)”.

The privacy policy also states that WhatsApp will make use of Facebook’s data centres worldwide. It also includes the data centres that are in the United States for data storage. This is a new updated policy which was not there previously. 

Privacy Policy section

Deleting account may not be of much help

Deleting the account does not necessarily mean that data related to you will be deleted too. “When you delete your account, it does not affect your information related to the groups you created or the information other users have relating to you, such as their copy of the messages you sent them”, according to the policy. 

Exercise caution while communicating with business accounts

According to the policy, “When you message with a business on WhatsApp, keep in mind that the content you share may be visible to several people in that business”. It implies that if you are communicating with a business account, it cannot be assessed as to how your information might be processed, regarding sharing information with third-parties service providers

“A business may give such third-party service provider access to its communications to send, store, read, manage, or otherwise process them for the business”, according to the privacy policy. 

Additional information for your knowledge related to the new privacy policy

The company has given time until February 8th, 2021 to accept the terms and conditions. You will get to see a pop-up on your screen. If you are comfortable with the changes, you can accept the terms and conditions, else your account will be deleted. 

There is, however, a catch here, your data will continue to remain with the company. So, deleting the account may not change the manner in which the company accesses your information. 

While the privacy policies might be a cause of concern for some people, others might be comfortable accepting them.

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Kiara Dawson
Kiara Dawson comes from an Engineering background, with a specialization in Information Technology. She has a keen interest and expertise in Web Development, Data Analytics, and Research. She trusts in the process of growth through knowledge and hard work.

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