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WhatsApp update, privacy rules have changed

WhatsApp users worldwide are discussing whether they should or should not accept the new terms and conditions.

If you use WhatsApp you probably already received a pop-up alert about the new agreement to sign if you want to keep using the messaging app. The privacy rules are changing and you should know what happens next.

WhatsApp update: should you accept the new rules?

WhatsApp users are being asked to sign a new privacy agreement if they want to keep using the app and that is because terms and conditions have been changed by Facebook. Users will have to make a choice if they want to use the messaging app after 8 February.

Worldwide WhatsApp users took the question on social media, discussing whether the new update will mean the app is going to share too much private data from now on. Although Facebook announced users accounts will not be deleted if users decide not to sign the new contract, privacy terms are going to change for future users.

The new privacy agreement

Facebook announced: “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” – the statement continues- “and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customise, support, and market our services and their offerings”. The company declared this means that updating Whatsapp terms and conditions will ‘only affect business communications’ but that will not change the way WhatsApp share data with Facebook.

“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”, the company stated.“WhatsApp remains deeply committed to protecting people’s privacy. We are communicating directly with users through WhatsApp about these changes so they have time to review the new policy over the course of the next month.”

According to Facebook, the agreement introduces new payment capabilities to allow users to purchase through the app. In a 2019 conference, Mark Zuckerberg had confirmed his intention to make payments via the app easier. He said: “it should be as easy to send money to someone as it is to send a photo”. Therefore according to Facebook, the new agreement will be useful for future features including shopping and payments, but it will not affect users’ privacy ‘furtherly’, as Facebook sharing users’ data was nothing new.

What data do they share?

WhatsApp had previously already stated its intentions with users’ data. The company had said the messaging app shares data with other family companies, but it does not include messages or calls. The information shared with companies would include: phone number and name, phone model, IP address and payment transactions made through the app.

In the meantime, other messaging apps as Signal and Telegram have seen a huge surge in new users after the controversial update. Signal was downloaded 8,8 million times after the announcement of the new agreement from Whatsapp. Telegram was also downloaded 11 million times over that week. WhatsApp users have until 8 February to decide whether to sign the agreement, after which they will not be able to use the app, although the accounts will not be deleted.

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