WhatsApp to swap personal info with Facebook, here’s how to disable it

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WhatsApp has announced a change of terms of service that will allow it to share your personal information with Facebook. It’s the first change in terms since it was bought by Facebook in 2014, and for one, it’s a pretty big one.

The app will now share information — like your phone number — with Facebook, allowing its parent company to better find your contacts on the social network, and allow brands and companies to contact you through the service’s messaging system.

WhatsApp gives an example of banks contacting you about “a potentially fraudulent transaction, or airlines sending a notification “about a delayed flight”. It sounds similar to Facebook Messenger’s bot integration, albeit a bit less complicated.

WhatsApp, thanks to its new terms of service, could soon become an advertisement hub

It’s also clear that WhatsApp has desires for potentially huge advertising revenues, much like Facebook Messenger’s service. The app, up until this point, has been fairly ad-free. At last count, the service had over one billion users in February 2016, so for Facebook, the app’s a massive untapped opportunity.

Can you stop it?

Still, if you don’t mind advertisements but don’t idea of WhatsApp sharing your phone number with Facebook, you can forbid it from happening.

How? Well, there are two ways.

Firstly, when the app starts, it should display its new terms of service in a splash screen. Instead of tapping “agree” tap the “read more” option instead, and deselect the box that allows WhatsApp to share your number with Facebook.

If you’ve tapped agree already, Motherboard’s second method allows users to change that decision in the app’s settings menu too. Do note that you can only change that option within 30 days of accepting terms.

The company explains that these features will roll out once testing is done.

“We want to test these features in the next several months, but need to update our terms and privacy policy to do so.”

Andy Walker
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