Many websites are claiming that WhatsApp is forcing us to share our data with Facebook in February 2021.
Find out what’s going on, and what the FACTS really are!
WhatsApp Sharing Data With Facebook : What’s Going On?
We wrote about this earlier, but it looks like many websites (including very influential ones) are still peddling the claim that WhatsApp is going to force us to share data with Facebook in February 2021.
No, WhatsApp Is Not Forcing You To Share Data With Facebook
Fact #1 : It Has Been A Requirement Since September 2016!
Back in August 2016, WhatsApp announced that they would start sharing data with Facebook. At that time, they gave existing users 30 days to opt-out.
This was a one-time offer that has never been repeated. Since then, every new and current user MUST agree to let WhatsApp share data with Facebook.
Fact #2 : WhatsApp Will Still Honour The Opt-Out
If you are a WhatsApp veteran who opted out of data sharing in August 2016, WhatsApp will still honour that opt-out.
Fact #3 : WhatsApp Will Share MORE Information With Facebook
So while they DO NOT need your permission to continue sharing data with Facebook, they still need your permission to SHARE MORE data with Facebook.
This is the list of additional data that we must agree to let WhatsApp share with Facebook :
- Status Information. You may provide us your status if you choose to include one on your account. Learn how to use status on Android, iPhone, or KaiOS.
- Location Information. We collect and use precise location information from your device with your permission when you choose to use location-related features, like when you decide to share your location with your contacts or view locations nearby or locations others have shared with you. There are certain settings relating to location-related information which you can find in your device settings or the in-app settings, such as location sharing. Even if you do not use our location-related features, we use IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (e.g., city and country). We also use your location information for diagnostics and troubleshooting purposes.
- User Reports. Just as you can report other users, other users or third parties may also choose to report to us your interactions and your messages with them or others on our Services; for example, to report possible violations of our Terms or policies. When a report is made, we collect information on both the reporting user and reported user.
Fact #4 : WhatsApp + Facebook Cannot Read Your Messages
WhatsApp finished implementing end-to-end encryption on 5 April 2016, about 4.5 months before instituting the requirement to share data with Facebook.
Since then, WhatsApp nor Facebook can no longer read your messages, as they are encrypted. Only the sender and receiver(s) can read them.
WhatsApp shares a considerable amount of data and metadata that Facebook can use to identify and track your movements and activities. But not the content of your messages.
Fact #5 : Telegram Is Less Secure!
For those who are fleeing to Telegram, you should note that Telegram does not encrypt messages (only Secret Chats).
In fact, all of your data – messages, photos, videos, documents – are stored in Telegram servers. Even though they are encrypted in storage, Telegram holds the encryption keys, NOT YOU.
In contrast, WhatsApp data is only stored in your devices. WhatsApp also does not retain messages in their servers after they are delivered, and will only store files (like photos and videos) and undelivered messages for 30 days.
WhatsApp will, however, store the time and date of the messages you send and receive.
Fact #6 : Signal Is The Most Secure Alternative
Those who want a more private and secure messenger should opt for Signal, instead of Telegram.
It offers end-to-end encryption using the open-source Signal protocol, the same protocol which WhatsApp uses in its own proprietary format.
On top of that, it offers a Sealed Sender feature which prevents everyone – including Signal – from knowing the sender and recipient of a message.
But best of all, Signal does not share your data with any third-party company. In fact, the only metadata it collects is your phone number, and even that is not linked to your identity.
That said, Signal lacks features found in WhatsApp and Telegram, so we cannot call it the best alternative, only the most secure alternative.
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