Facebook Begins Cracking WhatsApp's Privacy Walls

When Facebook gobbled up WhatsApp in 2014, everyone assumed that the social giant would wreck the app by betraying its strict privacy standards. It was believed to be only a matter of time before Facebook began mining WhatsApp user data for all it's worth -- and flooding the app with ads.  

Well, it took over two years, but Facebook finally appears ready to prove the critics right.

Relaxing its own privacy policy, WhatsApp has agreed to start sharing select user data with its parent company. That includes people’s phone numbers.

“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,” WhatsApp’s team stated.

More broadly, “by coordinating more with Facebook, we'll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam.”

But, that’s not all. As WhatsApp mentioned earlier this year, it’s exploring ways to let businesses connect with users. At first, that means banks messaging clients about potentially fraudulent transactions, and airlines sending alerts about delayed flights.

That all sounds pretty benign and useful, but, of course, it’s just the beginning.

After all, at some point Facebook needs to start recouping the $19 billion it dropped on WhatsApp.


1 comment about "Facebook Begins Cracking WhatsApp's Privacy Walls".
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  1. Jeffrey Chester from CDD, August 25, 2016 at 2:22 p.m.

    This violates Whatsapp promise to its users; a business would never have been built without such a promise about ads and data collection.  Facebook's privacy flipflop is unfair and deceptive to Whatsapp users and threatens both consumer and data protection rights.  No one signed up for Whatsapp to be part of Facebook's mobile device driven geo-location tracking and targeting machine. 

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