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What the New WhatsApp Privacy Policy Means For You and Your Personal Data

Things are simply not good at the moment with Facebook and its popular chat messenger WhatsApp. Many of you have already noticed the pop-up that appeared when you first opened WhatsApp. This is WhatsApp’s new way of forcing users to accept the new Facebook privacy policy regardless of whether or not they want to. If you don’t accept it, you can’t use the app.

The pop-up message read (in case you closed it without reading it. I did)

  • Updates to WhatsApp’s service and how it processes your data;
  • How businesses can use Facebook hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats;
  • How WhatsApp will partner with Facebook to offer integrations across Facebook Company products.


WhatsApp Privacy Policy Facebook

But what is this new WhatsApp privacy policy all about and why are people worried about it. Well, up to now, users were able to choose whether or not they wanted to accept the company’s policy and have their data shared with Facebook and other services. WhatsApp has now done away with that option and now users either have to deal with the new integrated system or find a new messaging app.

On 8 February 2021, Facebook will further integrate WhatsApp into its owned social media platforms including Instagram and Messenger, and allow all of its core services access to specific personal data in your WhatsApp app. This means that on 8 February 2021, users who no longer want to accept the privacy policy will no longer have access to the app.

In short, the policy grants Facebook access to your information. This includes your phone number, transaction data, service-related information, information on how you interact with others (including businesses) when using the Facebook Services, mobile device information, your IP address, and may include other information identified in the Privacy Policy section entitled ‘Information We Collect’ or obtained upon notice to you or based on your consent.

Facebook will also have access to the following information:

  • User phone numbers
  • Other people’s phone numbers stored in your address book
  • Profile names and pictures
  • Status messages including “last online” time
  • Diagnostic data collected through the app logs


Facebook has further highlighted how its companies may use the information collected in WhatsApp.

  • Helping improve infrastructure and delivery systems;
  • Understanding how our Services or theirs are used;
  • Promoting safety, security and integrity across the Facebook Company Products, e.g., security systems and fighting spam, threads, abuse, or infringement activities;
  • Improving their services and your experiences using them, such as making suggestions for you (for example, of friends or group connections, or of interesting content), personalized features and content, helping you complete purchases and transactions, and showing relevant offers and ads across the Facebook Company Products; and
  • Providing integrations which enable you to connect your WhatsApp experiences with other Facebook Company Products. For example, allowing you to connect your Facebook Pay account to pay for things on WhatsApp or enabling you to chat with your friends on other Facebook Company Products, such as Portal, by connecting your WhatsApp account.


Facebook makes it quite clear in its new privacy policy that they plan on sharing this information across the various “family of companies”. In some cases when someone uses WhatsApp to interact with a business that is not Facebook, the company may also share the above information with those outside entities. The policy reads;

“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, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings.”

While this may sound daunting at first, we knew this was coming. Last year, Facebook announced that the company would work on ways to integrate all of its services into one policy. In addition, this would allow Facebook to provide a more cohesive experience to users across WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and Messenger. If you feel like you don’t want this experience then there’s nothing you can do about it… For now.

Marco is the owner and founder of GLITCHED. South Africa’s largest gaming and pop culture website. GLITCHED quickly established itself with tech and gaming enthusiasts with on-point opinions, quick coverage of breaking events and unbiased reviews across its website, social platforms, and YouTube channel.

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