Launched in 2009, WhatsApp is one of the most popular texts and voice messaging apps. It’s free to use, and you can send messages, make voice calls, and host video chats on both desktop and mobile devices. Part of what makes this app appealing is that it works on various phone and computer operating systems, helping with messaging. It can also take advantage of Wi-Fi and cellular data to make one-on-one or group calls.
What’s happening with WhatsApp?
All private messages between individuals and most businesses on WhatsApp are protected by end-to-end encryption, meaning the app can’t see them or share them with Facebook (users will be notified before chatting with a business where messages are not end-to-end encrypted). But WhatsApp does collect other user information, such as how and when someone uses the app and user device information like IP addresses.
Here’s what has changed: WhatsApp’s privacy was last updated globally in 2016. At the time, it offered WhatsApp users the ability to opt-out of sharing data with Facebook, an option that was available for only a short time. In this latest update, the reference to that now-expired opt-out option has been removed.
The more significant update to the policy relates to WhatsApp’s business users. It discloses that businesses that use WhatsApp to talk to customers can choose to store logs of their conversations on Facebook hosting services. “The update does not change WhatsApp’s data-sharing practices with Facebook and does not impact how people communicate privately with friends or family wherever they are in the world,” a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement, adding that the company remains “deeply committed to protecting people’s privacy.”
In short: No additional WhatsApp user data will be shared with Facebook after accepting the new terms than was shared before. That is unless you took advantage of the opt-out in 2016. WhatsApp has been trying to misspell confusion over the updated policy, including by publishing an FAQ on its privacy practices.