Warning to all UK WhatsApp users

Today Facebook revealed they will be moving their UK user database from Facebook Ireland to Facebook Inc in the USA. Call it a perk of Brexit for Facebook; with looser regulations on data in the US Facebook are reacting quickly, and are not shying away from it. This impacts nearly everyone in the UK as Facebook touches most of our daily lives.

It’s no secret that WhatsApp is owned and operated by Facebook. In 2014 it was sold to the biggest social network for a block-busting 19 billion dollars. To pause briefly on this, on face value, Facebook purchased an app that doesn’t cost its users a penny, cent, or even rupee to use it. So it’s free to use, but how does Facebook make money from it? Clearly, there are other agendas at work here. 

Put simply, WhatsApp generates it’s income by better understanding you and vital pieces of your information. Facebook and its subsidiaries are the largest data hoarders in the world for a reason.

So how is Facebook using my data? I thought WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted?

We’re back to the number one problem all social messaging apps have. Your WhatsApp data is shared with the Facebook group of companies and specifically:

  • Processes 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.

So whilst there is end-to-end encryption on the content of your messages, you are by far immune from having your data harvested and shared. It’s all there in the privacy policy and we all, like with most privacy policies, tick that box without even skimming the legal jargon.

We are constantly battling to gain control over our data and personal lives, and this is another reason why. Now everyone in the UK who has Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp should take a few minutes to review your privacy settings and of course, use your Simvacy number wherever you can.