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Friday, August 26, 2016

WhatsApp's to Share DATA with Facebook

On Thursday, WhatsApp updated its terms of service and privacy policy to say that it will finally start sharing user data with Facebook, which bought the messaging app for 19 billion dollars back in 2014. Although WhatsApp promises that users will still not see any ads within the app itself, your WhatsApp information could be used for better targeting of ads and showing “You may also know” profiles on Facebook. Reading through the updated terms, it's clear that this is just one small change, and that WhatsApp is actually looking to become a very different platform now.

Your messages are yours, and we can’t read them. We’ve built privacy, end-to-end encryption, and other security features into WhatsApp. We don’t store your messages once they’ve been delivered. When they are end-to-end encrypted, we and third parties can’t read them.

Right at the start of the document, this point is important because it outlines the relationship between Facebook and WhatsApp, allowing the latter to say that it doesn't share information with third parties, while still giving your numbers to Facebook. At the same time, it also makes clear that nothing you post on WhatsApp will be shared to Facebook, which is a reassuring sign, for now.

New ways to use WhatsApp. We will explore ways for you and businesses to communicate with each other using WhatsApp, such as through order, transaction, and appointment information, delivery and shipping notifications, product and service updates, and marketing. For example, you may receive flight status information for upcoming travel, a receipt for something you purchased, or a notification when a delivery will be made. Messages you may receive containing marketing could include an offer for something that might interest you. We do not want you to have a spammy experience; as with all of your messages, you can manage these communications, and we will honor the choices you make.

For businesses, this could be a very appealing prospect, as a WhatsApp message could include images, rich links, formatting, and more, making it a much better tool for branded communication than an SMS. From a user’s perspective, at least part of the reason why the visiting SMS is inbox is a horrible experience is because of the mindless clutter that comes from promotional and user transactional messages - and that's something that WhatsApp also used to believe, if you look at its earlier terms.

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