WhatsApp updated its terms of service and privacy policy on Wednesday for users in India. iOS as well as Android mobile users have been receiving in-app notification for the new update stating that they must accept it.

With the newly updated policy, the Facebook-owned messaging platform shares insight to the kind of data it collects from users and also data it shares with other Facebook services. The messaging platform is asking users to accept the updated privacy policy latest by February 8, 2021. The company also confirms that any user failing to accept the updated WhatsApp privacy policy will lose access to their account.

What is WhatsApp’s new privacy policy all about

In the new terms of service and privacy policy, WhatsApp reveals the kind of data it collects from users and stores in its database. Data that the messaging platform collects from users include account information, messages (including undelivered messages, media forwarding), connections, status information, transactions and payments data, usage and log information, device and connection information, location information, cookies and much more. The company has also announced details that it collects shares with Facebook and its services.

What data WhatsApp collects and shares with Facebook

In the privacy policy, WhatsApp highlights information that it shares with its parent company Facebook and why. “As part of the Facebook Companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, the other Facebook 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, including the Facebook Company Products,” the new WhatsApp policy notes.

The messaging platform reveals that the information it shares with Facebook Companies include account registration information, details on how users interact with others including business, mobile device information, IP address, among others.

WhatsApp privacy policy

The policy also informs that when users rely on “third-party services or other Facebook Company Products that are integrated with our Services, those third-party services may receive information about what you or others share with them.” For instance, users either use Google Drive or iCloud to backup chats and that by default provides their services access to WhatsApp chats/messages. The messaging platform also mentions that “third-party services or other Facebook Company Products, their own terms and privacy policies will govern your use of those services and products.”

WhatsApp highlights that it collects some more information from devices such as “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 (including identifiers unique to Facebook Company Products associated with the same device or account).”

WhatsApp also confirms that users who use Payments in India will need to provide additional information including payment account and transaction information.

WhatsApp privacy policy

WhatsApp on storing user data

WhatsApp mentions in the privacy policy that it uses Facebook’s global infrastructure and data centers, including those in the US to store user data. This is the very first time that the platform is openly talking about data collection and storage. The policy also states that some of the data will be transferred to the US or other parts where Facebook’s affiliate companies are based. It adds, “these transfers are necessary to provide the global Services set forth in our Terms.” WhatsApp’s new policy states that even if a user does not use their location-relation features, they collect “IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (city, country).”

Why you should accept WhatsApp privacy policy

If you have been using WhatsApp for over several years you should be aware that the messaging platform updates its policies frequently. What’s new in the latest policy is that this is for the very first time that WhatsApp is openly providing details around user data collection and storage. Users have time till February 8, 2021 to accept the new policy or lose their account.

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