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WhatsApp Privacy Policy Update Part I: The Controversy

Updated: Mar 27



It is common knowledge that social media apps such as Facebook are free because they draw their revenue from advertisers. Advertisers are attracted by the platform’s database which can potentially be the audience reach. Hence, it is natural that Facebook will use the personal data from other apps that it acquires to understand the users’ browsing habits and allow the relevant advertisements to show up (or pop-up nuisance).


They have announced it in 2016


It would have been this intent that Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014. In August 2016, WhatsApp announced changes to its privacy policy which, once accepted by users, would see it start to share some user data with its parent company — including for ad-targeting purposes on the latter service. Back then, WhatsApp users could opt out of some of the sharing and had they chosen, WhatsApp will honour that choice. Whilst the feature has been removed from the app settings, you can check whether you're opted out through the “Request account info” function in Settings.


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