Why does Facebook wants your WhatsApp data?




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WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in February 2014 for an amount of 19 billion dollar (The Guardian, 2014). As of February 2016, the mobile messenger has more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide and tanks as one of the most popular social platforms globally. Each day around 1.6 billion pictures and 250 million videos are sent from one user to another, making Whatsapp the most popular messaging service globally closely followed by Facebook Messenger (The Statistics Portal, 2016).

Since the sales of Whatsapp to Facebook, a lot has changed for users of the application. The application is now free of charge, has been updated with new technologies, and the number of users has doubled making the platform more valuable for the users. However, WhatsApp didn’t update its Terms of Service in four years.. That changed in August 2016. The following term was added to the policy of Facebook:
“We joined the Facebook family of companies in 2014. As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, this family of companies”. (WhatsApp, 2016)

Whatsapp states that they are sharing their data with the Facebook family to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market their services and their offerings. This includes helping improve infrastructure and delivery systems, understand how our services or there are used, securing systems, and fighting spam, abuse, or infringement activities. Facebook and other companies from the Facebook family may also use the data to improve experiences within their services such as making product suggestions and showing relevant offers and adds (WhatsApp, 2016). And that’s how we all ended up automatically sharing are whatsapp data and phonenumber with Facebook…. Whatsapp stated that: “Using the messaging service is a voluntary decision, we have not forced anybody to use it. Users have an option of opting out of it” (Mashable, 2016).

What will the effect be for us? More relevant adds or Facebook literally knowing everything about you? To be honest, it scares me! What do you think, is this a positive or a negative situation for you as an user?

Mashable, 2016. WhatsApp responds to ‘endagering’ privacy accusations. [Online]
Available at: http://mashable.com/2016/09/15/facebook-whatsapp-privacy-india/#z2tW78.RWPqT
[Accessed 08 12 2016].
The Guardian, 2014. WhatsApp: Facebook acquires messaging service in $19bn deal. [Online]
Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/19/facebook-buys-whatsapp-16bn-deal
[Accessed 08 12 2016].
The Statistics Portal, 2016. Number of monthly active WhatsApp users worldwide. [Online]
Available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/260819/number-of-monthly-active-whatsapp-users/
[Accessed 08 12 2016].

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1 thought on “Why does Facebook wants your WhatsApp data?”

  1. Hi Annemieke,
    Very interesting article! I think first, this would definitely enable WhatsApp and Facebook users to benefit from more targeted and relevant ads and friend suggestions on Facebook based on WhatsApp information and companies could also send better marketing offers or messages about their products and services to individual customers. A positive point is that privacy groups have praised WhatsApp for building powerful encryption into its services, making it impossible for the company or anyone else to read users’ messages and WhatsApp promises that encryption will remain, so neither WhatsApp nor Facebook would be able to use message content for advertising purposes. However, I personally have some doubt about it, especially since the recent revelations of Snowden regarding NSA practices of collecting and storing information about people private lives. I think that no data should be used for profit unless people are completely informed about how it’s going to be used.

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