All WhatsApp users to take action by February 8th.

In an unprecedented update to its Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, WhatsApp is notifying users in many parts of the world that as of February 8th it will share more data with Facebook, the world’s most popular messaging app parent company. Most importantly, users who won’t agree to the new terms will need to stop using the app or delete their accounts. So, users have until February 8 to accept the new rules – or else lose access to the app.

The notice is being circulated via an in-app notification that links the key updates to WhatsApp’s policies and terms of services. Users will see a breakdown of how WhatsApp will be changing how they handle your data such as; how the app processes user data, how businesses can use Facebook-hosted services with WhatsApp, and how the app partners with Facebook to offer integration across Facebook’s products. Even users in Europe (notably within the EU) will only be exempt from the last change – how WhatsApp integrates with Facebook – primarily due to the regulations in place for GDPR.

“Facebook grants itself access to all of our WhatsApp-data unless…. you are living in the EU. That is why data protection matters.”

Dutch MEP, Paul Tang

Unsurprisingly, Facebook are towing the corporate line in response to the outcry at this unrivalled privacy easing: “… {These changes are to} ensure security, safety, and integrity across the Facebook Company Products; and to improve your ads and products experience across the Facebook Company Products,”

The number one problem with all social messaging apps, and not just WhatsApp, is their need for a mobile number to use the app. Unwittingly and seemingly without much alternative, we share our mobile numbers often freely, without concern for our privacy.

Let us not forget what WhatsApp already collects and shares with Facebook (and also shares with other Facebook affiliated companies).

·       The phone number you verified when you signed up for WhatsApp

·       Your device information such as operating system version, app version, and platform information

·       Your mobile country code and network code, and flags to enable tracking

·       Your usage information such as when you last used WhatsApp and the date you first registered your account, and the types and frequency of your features usage.
Before February 8th, 2021 WhatsApp users can take an important step to further protect their privacy by swapping their personal mobile number for a Simvacy number. A number that’s completely detached from your data.