It’s been two years since Facebook forked out $ 19 billion to acquire messaging app WhatsApp. The deal with WhatsApp founders – Jan Koum and Brian Acton – then was that since WhatsApp is an advertising free service, it would remain so. But, when big bucks are involved, one needs to monetise it, even if you are Mark Zuckerberg.
So, Facebook has gone ahead and tweaked the privacy terms of WhatsApp as of 25 August. With a 423-word blog post titled, Looking ahead for WhatsApp, it states, “by coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things
like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them.
What that means is WhatsApp would begin to share names and phone numbers with its parent. That means Facebook will use big data analytics to see who all you communicate with on WhatsApp. It will use big data analytics to crunch that data which would lead to among other things providing suggestions on friends based on who all you are communicating with regularly on WhatsApp. If your phone’s GPS is on since you need to book a Uber, Facebook would also know where exactly you are at any given point of time. That would mean much more focused advertising than even Google does.
WATCH: WhatsApp To Share Your Phone Number With Facebook!
You would get to see ads from companies that you are assicted with and from stores in the mall you are in.
So what can you do?
You can opt out within a 30-day window starting 25 August. When you open WhatsApp, a screen opens up. Go down and uncheck the box that says share your info. In case you have already agreed, go to your Whatapp settings and
get into Account. Uncheck the box that shows the Share my account. You are done.
The other option is to get out of WhatsApp altogether. That could be difficult for people who are already on multiple groups. Considering that the market is awash with messaging apps – Line, WeChat, Telegram, Hike –this could be the time that many users who fear privacy issues opt out of WhatsApp. That remains to be seen. But, since WhatsApp is the market-leader by a long shot, that should not be reason for worry immediately.
As many people already have the Facebook and WhatsApp applications already on their smartphones, Facebook already knows you quite well. There is not much you can do. Finally, it all depends on how many of the 1 billion
WhatsApp users are also among the 1.7 billion Facebook users. One thing is for sure. It’s time to take a hard look at what all you are willing to share.