WhatsApp’s new Privacy Policy: European users will not need to share data with Facebook

WhatsApp recently updated its Privacy Policy to announce that it will share data of users with parent-company Facebook. However, this does not seem to be the case for WhatsApp users in Europe as the messaging app has clarified that WhatsApp does not share European Region WhatsApp data with Facebook.

WhatsApp’s director of policy for Europe Niamh Sweeney confirmed in a series of tweets that there are no changes to WhatsApp’s data-sharing practices in Europe arising from the latest update and the messaging app will not share data of European users with Facebook.

“There are no changes to WhatsApp’s data-sharing practices in the Europe arising from this update. It remains the case that WhatsApp does not share European Region WhatsApp user data with Facebook for the purpose of Facebook using this data to improve its products or ads,” Sweeney said in a tweet.

This comes as a surprise to WhatsApp users outside of Europe who are being forced to agree to data-sharing policies in order to continue using the messaging app. WhatsApp has over two billion users globally. WhatsApp has said in its updated Privacy Policy that it shares user data such as phone number, IP address, payments and financial transactions over WhatsApp, information about the phone, and more with Facebook companies.

WhatsApp is under fire to force users to accept its new terms of service and privacy policy, failing to do so by February 8, 2021, will lead to users losing access to their WhatsApp account.

Do note that European users will also need to agree to WhatsApp’s new Privacy Policy to avoid losing access to the messaging app, but it looks like the policy for these users does not include data sharing with Facebook.

“The latest update to our Privacy Policy is about providing clearer, more detailed information to our users on how and why we use data. It’s also about improving how businesses use WhatsApp to connect with customers,” Sweeney said in consecutive tweets. “The updated Policy provides info on how businesses using the WhatsApp API to talk to customers can now do so using a Facebook-provided service to help them manage their chats with customers.”

In a recent blog post, WhatsApp clarified that the policy update does not affect the privacy of messages of users. This means that neither Facebook nor WhatsApp can see the private messages of users, hear their calls, see the shared location, or share contacts with Facebook.

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