Nearly two and a half years after Facebook acquired WhatsApp, and despite Whatsapp CEO Jan Koum saying at the time of the acquisition that user privacy wouldn’t suffer, the services are about to get a little bit friendlier with their data sharing.
WhatsApp has provoked ire by announcing that it is to start sharing its user data with parent company Facebook, despite assurances at the time that it was bought that everyone’s data would remain entirely private. The company says that the information will be used for ads on Facebook and WhatsApp, as well as helping to improve the messaging platform.
But many people are angry that some of their most personal information – their chats – could potentially be compromised as part of the deal with Facebook.
Now it has emerged that there is a hidden way of opting out of the terms, and ensuring that no data is sent over to Facebook. But it has to be done quickly.
You can choose not to share your account information with Facebook for targeting purposes. There are two ways to do this:
1.On WhatsApp, don’t click Agree when it asks you to confirm you are happy with the change of terms. Instead, click to read more. You should then see a check box or control button at the bottom of the screen which says "Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook to improve my Facebook ads and product experiences…”. Uncheck this.
2. If you have already agreed to the updated terms All is not lost, but the clock is ticking.If you’ve already agreed to share your details, it’s not too late to change your mind – but the option will only be available for 30 days after you receive the notification.Simply open WhatsApp, go in to Settings, select Account and uncheck the ticked box saying ‘Share my account info’ to reverse your decision.
It isn’t clear that opting out of the new terms will change the experience at all, either when compared with people who are still having their data shared with Facebook, or with before WhatsApp introduced the change. WhatsApp say that the new change is meant only to help improve the ads on Facebook, so the only possible consequence is that what you see on the network might be slightly less relevant.