WhatsApp orders users to share data with Facebook or risk deletion

WhatsApp Messenger is updating its terms of service and privacy policies in order to incorporate services and products offered by Facebook, its parent company

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COURTESY PHOTO.

WhatsApp Messenger is updating its terms of service and privacy policies in order to incorporate services and products offered by Facebook, its parent company. And probably, as you read this article, you might have come across an alarming pop-up from the messaging-app service, asking you to either accept the new privacy rules or lose your account. The new changes in privacy policies and terms will come into effect on February 8.

SinceTuesday evening, a number of users have been receiving a notification informing them about the new changes in WhatsApp’s terms of service and privacy policies. “WhatApp is updating its terms and privacy policy,” the notification read. The new update makes it mandatory for the users to accept the terms and conditions in order to retain their WhatsApp account information.

The notification lists details about the messaging app’s key updates including how it processes user data and its partnership with Facebook to offer integrations across the Facebook Company Product and how businesses can use Facebook-hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats.

“How businesses can use Facebook hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats and How we( WhatsApp) partners with Facebook to offer integrations across the Facebook Company Products,” WhatsApp further says.

On top of that, the messaging application has also updated its website where it provides details on its latest updates. Among other changes, the way WhatsApp collects information has been updated, too. “When a user forwards media within a message, we store that media temporarily in encrypted form on our servers to aid in more efficient delivery of additional forwards,” it says. This bit, however, wasn’t there in the update that rolled out last year in December.

Earlier, the users also had an option to choose whether they wanted to share their WhatsApp data with Facebook. However, with the latest update, that option is no longer on the table. With this latest update, users remain vulnerable to their accounts having vanished permanently.

Among other data that WhatsApp wants its users to share with Facebook are 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 comes just over a month after Apple made it mandatory started for iOS app makers, including WhatsApp, to detail the information they collect from users. According to the App Store, WhatsApp reserves the right to collect: purchases, financial information, location, contacts, user content, identifiers, usage data and diagnostics.

It’s estimated that WhatsApp has over two billion users worldwide.