WhatsApp announced earlier this month that it is making changes to Privacy Policy, detailing it will share data with parent-company Facebook. The messaging app initially forced users to accept the policy by February 8, 2021, or they could lose access to their WhatsApp account, a deadline that has now been extended by four months.

The move comes as WhatsApp faced a backlash from users over privacy issues. As people flocked to rival messaging platforms like Signal and Telegram, WhatsApp published a new blog post explaining the kind of data it shares with Facebook, in an attempt to clear the air. To give a perspective, Signal and Telegram added over 40 lakh users between January 6 and January 10, according to data by Sensor Tower.

So, what is WhatsApp’s new Privacy Policy, what all data it shares with Facebook, and should you accept it? We answer these questions.

WhatsApp Privacy Policy: What is it?

WhatsApp has clarified that its recent terms and privacy policy do not affect personal messages. Key updates include how businesses can use Facebook services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats and how WhatsApp integrates with Facebook. The policy essentially applies to you if you communicate with a business account on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp aims to improve customer service as well as discovering business and shopping experiences on the messaging platform. “The updates related to optional business features are a part of our broader efforts to make communicating with a business secure, better, and easier for everyone,” WhatsApp said in a blog post. WhatsApp will share data with Facebook for ads purposes.

Will you lose access to your WhatsApp account?

The previous deadline for accepting WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy was February 8, 2021, which has been extended to May 15, 2021.  WhatsApp previously said that users who did not accept its Privacy Policy will lose access to their WhatsApp account. However, the new blog post does not clearly say whether this will still be the case for users who do not accept WhatsApp’s terms by May 15.

“We’re now moving back the date on which people will be asked to review and accept the terms. No one will have their account suspended or deleted on February 8,” as per WhatsApp’s post. “We’ll then go to people gradually to review the policy at their own pace before new business options are available on May 15,” it added.

What data will WhatsApp share with Facebook?

“We collect device and connection-specific information when you install, access, or use our Services. This includes information such as hardware model, operating system information, battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network, connection information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP), language and time zone, IP address, device operations information, and identifiers,” according to WhatsApp.

Additionally, it also collects payment account and transaction information for users who use WhatsApp’s payments services or use its Services meant for purchases or other financial transactions.

Data that WhatsApp does not collect 

WhatsApp

WhatsApp has clarified that it can’t read the personal chats of users, neither can Facebook. Further, calls and personal messages also remain private, thanks to end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp has said it does not collect data including:

  1. Logs of who everyone is messaging or calling
  2. Shared location
  3.  Contacts are not shared with Facebook, however, do note that phone numbers from addresses of users who give permission can be accessed by WhatsApp. This is done in order to make messaging fast and reliable, as per WhatsApp.
  4. Groups

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