WhatsApp users must share data with Facebook if they want to continue on app

Over 2 billion users will have until February 8 to agree to policy change that will see information, including contacts and status updates, shared with social media giant

The logo of WhatsApp, December 28, 2016. (Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)
The logo of WhatsApp, December 28, 2016. (Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

The WhatsApp messaging app will require users to share personal data with its parent company, Facebook.

Users were notified on Wednesday and will have until February 8 to agree to the policy change before losing access to the app with over 2 billion accounts.

“As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, this family of companies,” the new privacy policy states.

“We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our services and their offerings.”

Users will have to agree to share with Facebook information including contact information, status message updates and diagnostic data from other apps.

Facebook purchased WhatsApp in 2014 and two years later gave users a one-time opportunity to opt out of sharing their app data with the parent company.

A spokeswoman for WhatsApp told Ars Technica that the policy change is to allow the app to store data using Facebook’s infrastructure.

Following the notification from WhatsApp, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “Use Signal,” in reference to a competitor encrypted messaging app that has received better data privacy grades from tech experts.

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