Wednesday, January 20

WhatsApp details what it shares or not with Facebook

In response to the controversy, WhatsApp wanted to detail the changes made to its terms of use, and in particular the data that can be shared with Facebook.

WhatsApp logo in front of a silhouette

Faced with the leakage of its users, WhatsApp is forcing itself to be more transparent // Gamesdone: Rachit Tank via Unsplash

WhatsApp users are fleeing instant messaging en masse to turn to more ethical solutions such as Telegram or Signal, highly acclaimed. In question, a change of its conditions of use which evoke the sharing of personal data with the other services of the Facebook group (the eponymous social network, Messenger and Instagram).

WhatsApp does not share your chats

If the idea in itself seems scary, WhatsApp wanted to reassure its users by specifying what was shared, and with whom. Of course, it goes without saying that your conversations are not tapped overnight, as they are end-to-end encrypted.

WhatsApp therefore does not have access to your messages, which you can also set to make them disappear after a certain time, and the same goes for calls and for discussion groups. This data will therefore not be shared. WhatsApp also promises not to keep any track of the metadata of your conversations, unlike operators, and therefore cannot know who you are chatting with or when.

Finally, the messaging promises not to share your contacts with Facebook, this permission is only used to manage your address book within the application itself.

What is shared with Facebook?

The recent change in T & Cs actually serves as a basis for discussions with companies. When communicating with a company on WhatsApp, the latter can use the APIs made available to it to record the discussion on Facebook’s infrastructures. WhatsApp defends itself by specifying that nothing has hitherto prevented brands from storing the same information on their side for a similar use. If the Facebook / WhatsApp APIs are used, a message nevertheless allows the user to be informed.

The idea behind this is to create a link between the Facebook and WhatsApp stores, allowing potential customers to get in touch with the brands and receive, if they wish, information related to new products or good deals.

As you will have understood, Facebook is primarily looking for a way to make WhatsApp profitable through the link between companies, a bit like Telegram imagines for its large discussion groups. For its part, Signal is financed entirely through donations, like Wikipedia. A business model healthy, but obviously more fragile.

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