In a blog post yesterday WhatsApp announced that it will be giving its parent company users personal details including phone numbers. The personal details on WhatsApp will be used by businesses to send messages to users.
The blog post goes further to state the good:
The updated documents also reflect that we’ve joined Facebook and that we’ve recently rolled out many new features, like end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp Calling, and messaging tools like WhatsApp for web and desktop.
The post also goes into the bad, and in typical Facebook style glosses it over, buries it in the middle of the post and hopes you don’t read.
But as we announced earlier this year, we want to explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam. Whether it’s hearing from your bank about a potentially fraudulent transaction, or getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight, many of us get this information elsewhere, including in text messages and phone calls.
Even as we coordinate more with Facebook in the months ahead, your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else. We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers.
The 3 paragraphs highlight a company stumbling over its shoelaces trying to backtrack, up sell and hide the fact that your private and encrypted data is now up for sale. Facebook claims WhatsApp has end to end encryption and no one has access to it but a quick note to the fact that my bank can message me indicates otherwise. We all knew that sooner than later Caeser aka the Zuck had to come collect his $19billion penance. The penance in this case is you, loosely referred to as your data.
In typical Facebook push the envelope modus operandi we expect WhatsApp to open up more and more to advertisers revenue. The share holders are baying for returns and they have 1,7 billion cows to milk. Facebook claim to know nothing about you but most people have their phone number in the Facebook profile and it is ridiculously easy to match the data across 3 tables; Facebook UserID, Facebook phone number and WhatsApp phone number. All of a sudden the company that make scissors for left-handed people can send a message to your WhatsApp because 3 weeks ago you got caught in a cycle of left-handed paper cutting champion videos.
You can opt out of the agreement (for now) and chose not to share your data with Facebook. The two options listed on WhatsApp for keeping your data private are:
You will see a control at the bottom of the screen. If you do not want your account information shared with Facebook to improve your Facebook ads and products experiences, you can uncheck the box or toggle the control.
I have collated a few choice tweets to show how the certain sections of the user base are reacting:
How do you feel about the move by Facebook and its subsidiary WhatsApp?