Since the day WhatsApp introduced the end-to-end security encryption to the messages, the respect over this messenger has increased among people and they even protested against governments that wanted to channel all the messages under their watch for security purposes.
Privacy is a big thing than the system and the government here. Facebook, after acquiring the world’s largely used messenger (WhatsApp), have brought significant changes like the blue ticks, end-to-end security, document sharing and revised the number of people limitations for groups.
Recently, WhatsApp made changes to their terms and conditions that share the chats and phone numbers to Facebook for improving your Facebook ads and product experiences.
What’s wrong? Why would WhatsApp share data?
WhatsApp chats and your phone number are the private data. The main aim of end-to-end encryption is to provide that privacy to people and their conversations. If that private data is shared to improvise the marketing strategies of super node Facebook, privacy should be compromised internally.
WhatsApp is no more an individual company. Facebook acquired WhatsApp and now it is a child company. Facebook has authority to take any decisions about the WhatsApp now.
However, the private chats and phone number would not be shared to anyone outside the corporation. The data is not sold or leaked to any other company or organization. It will be kept secured encrypted within the WhatsApp and Facebook servers only.
You would see this option on your screen when opening WhatsApp. It says,
“Share WhatsApp account information with Facebook to improve my Facebook ads and product experiences. Your chats and phone number will not be shared onto Facebook regardless of this setting.”
This means, unless you opt-in this option, WhatsApp will not share its data to the Facebook for better marketing. It also means that they would be sharing your phone number to the brands. If supposedly not shared with brands, the phone numbers might be used to notify you about their advertised products.
Didn’t understand? Let’s talk about some examples
Example 1: Let us suppose that you are chatting (WhatsApp) with your friend about the wedding shopping. The chats will be shared onto Facebook and analyzed. The analyzed data will be matched with their advertisers' demand by their marketing team. Then you would be shown the sponsored posts on Facebook newsfeed related to the products specifically that you were talking about with your friend.
Let’s consider that you were talking about the wedding jewelry. When you log in to Facebook and scroll through the newsfeed, you will be shown the ads for wedding jewelry.
You will also be getting SMSs related to the jewelry products from Facebook about their advertisers.
Example 2: If you are searching for best smartphones under some budget say $200. You will be shown the sponsored posts on the Facebook newsfeed with all the smartphone phone ads.
This happens generally because of the safe cookies and the search analysis of your queries on Facebook. This sort of usage stats are being gathered without our notice or as the part of terms & conditions.
This is not new to us. They are just expanding the reach
This marketing strategy is not new to us. Even search engines do the same through the safe cookies. Facebook also does the same by taking the information from these cookies.
Remember, you would realize Facebook showing relevant ads in the newsfeed. Never mind if you don’t. I will give you an example screenshot.
Pic: The above screenshot is from Facebook
The Titan company page admin might have bought ads focusing the keyword for watches. I was watching for the watches a day ago and this comes up on my newsfeed. The purpose of the WhatsApp sharing the data Facebook relates closely to this.
How does sharing WhatsApp chats data and phone number help them?
It’s simple. Collecting more data will increase the productivity by increasing the advertiser’s target accuracy and in turn earns good ROI.
For example, if you and your friend are talking about a new pair of shoes for the next week’s bday party and you don’t do much Facebooking. When you login for one in thousand reasons that day itself, you won’t be shown the sponsored posts of relevant products and ads. It won’t help you as well as Facebook as you won’t be interacting to them.
#Take a minute to understand the logic. I’ve all the time in the world.
To tackle such situations, Facebook takes the data of your chats and brings up the relevant ads on the newsfeed (like as that Titan sponsored post that I shared above).
Should you stop sharing data to Facebook?
Are you interested in getting relevant ads for your chats?
If you answer ‘Yes’ to this question, you should opt-in to share your data. If it’s a ‘No’, just opt-out.
There is a possibility that Facebook might bring textual sponsored messages intruding into your chats in the middle of something like the online dating apps do suggesting the premium membership while chatting.
WhatsApp had promised that it will not introduce the ads in the form of banners. That is not everything. The creativeness of advertising and marketing may take any forms. It may take the words that you type (keywords I mean) and turn it into hyperlink pointing to the advertiser’s link Hike do it for inserting emoji’s and stickers.
So, it’s all about your priorities. The privacy may be compromised but not the security.
How to block WhatsApp from sharing data to Facebook?
The sharing of data is not a knife on the neck. You can opt-out from sharing your chats and your phone number. There are two ways to do this.
After unchecking it, just click on Agree to continue using WhatsApp as usual.
Why would you need to click agree even after unchecking? Is it a trick?
No. Not at all. Whether you agree to share your data or not, you have to agree to the terms and policy updates of the product in order to use WhatsApp. This would be common to any application.
Method 2: Go to Settings > Account > Uncheck the option ‘Share my WhatsApp account information to Facebook..”
Just a second
I hope this long post has helped you understand the corporate operations behind the companies. Opting in or out is still your own decision.
Share this to your social media timelines to help your friends also understand this. I would consider that your thankfulness for my efforts I put here in this article.