Why WhatsApp’s New Privacy Rules Sparked an Exodus

Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp has begun alerting its 2 billion users of an update to its privacy policy — and if they want to keep using the popular messaging app, they have to accept it. The new terms, delivered in early 2021, have caused an outcry among technology experts, privacy advocates, billionaire entrepreneurs and government organizations and triggered a wave of defections to rival services.

 

WhatsApp says the change is necessary to help it integrate better with other Facebook products.

1. What does the policy say?

WhatsApp is now reserving the right to share data it collects about you with the broader Facebook network, which includes Instagram, regardless of whether you have accounts or profiles there.

Much of the policy, which is about monetizing WhatsApp, is broadly in line with what came before, but it now states clearly that “WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, the other Facebook Companies. We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate” and market services. The option to share data with Facebook has existed for years, but it was just that: optional. From Feb. 8 it becomes mandatory.

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