WhatsApp, what will really change from May 15th?

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Lluís Enric Mayans
WhatsApp, what will really change from May 15th?

Here is what will happen if you accept the new terms of service

You recently received a message from WhatsApp that told you to accept certain conditions and you pressed Accept without reading anything? We explain what it means.

Starting from the next May 15 (the original deadline was February 8), the terms of service and the WhatsApp privacy policy will change. How? Additional information will be provided on how data is processed and how companies can use Facebook services to manage WhatsApp chats (which, we remind you, is a company owned by Facebook since 2014). But not for all WhatsApp users worldwide, as we will clarify shortly.

The notice published on WhatsApp reads: “By tapping I accept you accept the new terms in effect from 15 May 2021. After that date you will need to accept the new terms to continue using WhatsApp".


What data will WhatsApp share with Facebook?

From that date, therefore, WhatsApp will start sharing user data with the parent company, Facebook.

Which? Names, profile photos, status updates, telephone numbers, contacts, make and model (and related characteristics) of the smartphone used, operating system used (Android, iOS), telephone company.

If in the past this could have been voluntary, in February it will become compulsory. Many, on the web and on social networks, have risen, threatening to delete WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram, to switch to Telegram and other platforms.

This is the notification sent by WhatsApp to all its users

For European users it doesn't change much. The clarification by WhatsApp

After this media "encirclement", WhatsApp was forced to respond that the new terms of service to which European users (meaning all of Europe, including the United Kingdom and Switzerland) will have to give consent DO NOT also include data sharing with Facebook.

The statement comes from the Irish branch of WhatsApp (from which all the initiatives aimed at Europeans start), in the person of Niamh Sweeney, WhatsApp Policy Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa: "It has been incorrectly reported that the latest updates regarding WhatsApp's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy force users in the European area to allow sharing of data with Facebook for advertising purposes, under penalty of inability to continue using WhatsApp. This is false. There are no changes to WhatsApp data sharing practices in the European area following the update. WhatsApp does not share the data of users of the European area with Facebook for the latter to use them to improve its products or advertisements ".

This is because in the European Union the GDPR Compliance, the regulation for the protection of personal data. Continuing, Sweeney states: “We clearly state this concept at the following address: https://faq.whatsapp.com/general/security-and-privacy/how-we-work-with-the-facebook-companies“.

We suggest you go and read it. You will find that indeed "Today, Facebook does not use your WhatsApp account information to improve your experiences with Facebook products or to provide you with more relevant advertising experiences on Facebook", but also that, for some time, "To receive services from companies of Facebook, WhatsApp shares the information we have about you as described in the "Collected Information" section of the Privacy Policy. For example, to provide WhatsApp with statistical data collection services, Facebook processes the phone number you verified when you signed up for WhatsApp, some information on your device (the device identifiers associated with the same device or account, the version of the operating system, the version of the application, information on the platform, the international prefix of your mobile number and the network code and flags that allow the tracking of consents and choices and controls adopted) and some usage information (the latest time you used WhatsApp, the account registration date, the type of features you use and how often) on behalf of WhatsApp and in accordance with our instructions. In addition, WhatsApp shares information with other Facebook companies when this is necessary in order to promote safety, security and integrity within Facebook companies "

So national users (and from other European countries) can rest assured?

To a certain extent, yes. In the future, however, if WhatsApp wants to make the same changes here in Europe as well, it could only do so after an agreement with the Irish Data Protection Commission. He will do it? Nobody can know.

The only certain thing is that after the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook in 2014 for the stratospheric figure of 19 billion dollars, it seems that the time has come to go to the cashier. And the European market is too greedy not to have to be exploited.

Who would like to read what are the WhatsApp Terms of Service for the European area (UK and Switzerland included) in detail can do it a this address. The privacy policy è here . For the rules that must be accepted by the rest of the world, however, the link is this.

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