If you’re using WhatsApp then you might have notice a little message asking you to accept some new terms and conditions. If you haven’t seen the pop-up yet then you might need to restart the app on your smartphone. Those of you who have seen the new Ts&Cs pop-up… you just clicked Accept, didn’t you?
That was probably what WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook were hoping you’d do. If you weren’t paying attention then you’ve just given WhatsApp permission to share your phone number and your other WhatApp account info with Facebook, so that the social network can improve targeted advertising to you. On Facebook, that is — not on WhatsApp. You still won’t be seeing any third-party ads there. Even so, do you see what happens when you don’t pay attention to the terms and conditions?
Perhaps you’re okay with data-sharing between Facebook and WhatsApp. In that case, click Accept and get on with your day.
If you’d rather not have your messaging app data being turned into advertisements then you can head it off at the pass and click the teeny little ‘Read More’ underneath that inviting Agree button. Once there, you just need to untick the box marked “Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook.”
If you jumped the gun and agreed to this new arrangement without thinking, there’s still time to opt out. You have 30 days to do so, in fact, before the data-sharing arrangement becomes permanent. Inside WhatsApp you just need to head to Settings and then Account. In there you should see an option to Share My Account… untick that box and you’ll keep your messaging and Facebook wholly separate for a while longer. And your precious phone number out of Facebook’s hands.
The reasoning for all these changes? WhatsApp is going to be working more closely with Facebook in future, as well as businesses that might want you to communicate with them via WhatsApp, and they need your permission before doing so. And if, “…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”, then so be it. Check out the full Terms and Conditions.