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Is WhatsApp Forcing You To Share Data With Facebook In February 2021?

Is WhatsApp Forcing Us To Share Data With Facebook In February 2021?

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.

It all started with this pop-up alert that started appearing on WhatsApp a few days ago, alerting us to a change in its terms and privacy policy.

You must accept this new privacy policy to continue using WhatsApp from 8 February 2021 onwards. Otherwise, the alert subtly suggests, you should “delete your account”.

Since then, numerous articles have been written about how this new privacy policy is forcing us to share our WhatsApp data with Facebook.

This has led to many people switching to alternatives like Telegram and Signal, in fear that the new privacy policy would allow Facebook to access and read all of their WhatsApp messages.

 

No, WhatsApp Is Not Forcing You To Share Data With Facebook

As we shared earlier, NO, the new WhatsApp privacy policy does not force you to share data with Facebook, because…

Fact #1 : It Has Been A Requirement Since September 2016!

It is perplexing why so many websites claim that this new privacy policy forces us to let WhatsApp share data with Facebook. After all, this 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.

You can safely agree to the new privacy policy – your data opt-out will remain active.

Fact #3 : WhatsApp Will Share MORE Information With Facebook

The new WhatsApp privacy policy is mainly focused on enabling Businesses on WhatsApp.

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.
  • Transactions And Payments Data. If you use our payments services, or use our Services meant for purchases or other financial transactions, we process additional information about you, including payment account and transaction information. Payment account and transaction information includes information needed to complete the transaction (for example, information about your payment method, shipping details and transaction amount). If you use our payments services available in your country or territory, our privacy practices are described in the applicable payments privacy policy.
  • 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.
  • Businesses On WhatsApp. Businesses you interact with using our Services may provide us with information about their interactions with you. We require each of these businesses to act in accordance with applicable law when providing any information to us.When you message with a business on WhatsApp, keep in mind that the content you share may be visible to several people in that business. In addition, some businesses might be working with third-party service providers (which may include Facebook) to help manage their communications with their customers. For example, a business may give such third-party service provider access to its communications to send, store, read, manage, or otherwise process them for the business. To understand how a business processes your information, including how it might share your information with third parties or Facebook, you should review that business’ privacy policy or contact the business directly.

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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Hello? WhatsApp Is Already Sharing Data With Facebook!

People are worried that a new WhatsApp privacy policy update will force them to share data with Facebook.

Well, here’s the real surprise – don’t you know that WhatsApp is already doing that?

Find out what’s going on, and what WhatsApp is really changing…

 

New WhatsApp Privacy Policy : Share Data With Facebook?

Many of you may have woken up to this pop-up on WhatsApp, alerting you to a change in its terms and privacy policy, which takes effect on 8 February 2021.

While you can delay the decision by clicking NOT NOW, you have to accept the new terms and privacy policy, to continue using WhatsApp.

Otherwise, the alert subtly suggests, you should “delete your account”.

 

Hello? WhatsApp Is Already Sharing Data With Facebook!

Many WhatsApp users are shocked by this new development, and pondering about whether they should jump to Telegram or some other instant messenger.

What’s more egregious though is that many websites are “warning” their readers about this new, shocking development.

The fact of the matter is – WhatsApp has been sharing data with Facebook for years!

In The Beginning : Private Communication Assured

After Facebook bought WhatsApp for a cool US$19 billion, Jan Koum set the record straight on 17 March 2014 :

Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible: You don’t have to give us your name and we don’t ask for your email address. We don’t know your birthday. We don’t know your home address. We don’t know where you work. We don’t know your likes, what you search for on the internet or collect your GPS location. None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that.

2016 : WhatsApp Starts Sharing Data With Facebook

In August 2016, WhatsApp announced that they would start sharing data with Facebook, after rolling out end-to-end encryption.

[B]y coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of.

At that time, WhatsApp offered existing users a special one-time only option to opt-out of the data sharing, but only if they did it within 30 days.

If you are an existing user, you can choose not to have your WhatsApp account information shared with Facebook to improve your Facebook ads and products experiences. Existing users who accept our updated Terms and Privacy Policy will have an additional 30 days to make this choice by going to Settings > Account.

If you did not opt-out within 30 days back in August 2016, your data would be shared with Facebook.

This opt-out option was NOT provided to new WhatsApp users who registered on or after 25 August 2016.

After 24 September 2016 : WhatsApp Has Been Sharing Data With Facebook

With the singular exception of existing users who managed to opt-out by 24 September 2016, the data of every other WhatsApp user has been shared with Facebook.

8 February 2021 Onwards : More Information Is Shared

What will really change from 8 February 2021 onwards is the additional information that WhatsApp will 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.
  • Transactions And Payments Data. If you use our payments services, or use our Services meant for purchases or other financial transactions, we process additional information about you, including payment account and transaction information. Payment account and transaction information includes information needed to complete the transaction (for example, information about your payment method, shipping details and transaction amount). If you use our payments services available in your country or territory, our privacy practices are described in the applicable payments privacy policy.
  • 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.
  • Businesses On WhatsApp. Businesses you interact with using our Services may provide us with information about their interactions with you. We require each of these businesses to act in accordance with applicable law when providing any information to us.When you message with a business on WhatsApp, keep in mind that the content you share may be visible to several people in that business. In addition, some businesses might be working with third-party service providers (which may include Facebook) to help manage their communications with their customers. For example, a business may give such third-party service provider access to its communications to send, store, read, manage, or otherwise process them for the business. To understand how a business processes your information, including how it might share your information with third parties or Facebook, you should review that business’ privacy policy or contact the business directly.

 

Opted Out In 2016? It Is Still Honoured!

WhatsApp will apparently continue to honour the decision of those who opted-out of data sharing in August 2016.

For those who opted out, you can agree to the new policy, and your data will still NOT be shared with Facebook.

To check if you opted-out in August 2016, you will need to check in your WhatsApp account – Settings > Account > Request Account Info.

 

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WhatsApp Payments : How Does It Work?

WhatsApp just rolled out digital payments in Brazil! It is a good look at what could eventually be rolled out across the world – WhatsApp Payments!

 

WhatsApp Payments : What Is It?

On 16 June 2020, WhatsApp started rolling out digital payments to their users and businesses in Brazil.

By leveraging the recently-announced Facebook Pay, it allows WhatsApp users to send money, or pay for their purchases, directly through the app.

It also allows WhatsApp Business users to receive money or payments for their products or services.

 

WhatsApp Payments : Is That The Official Name?

They did not reveal an official name, calling it either digital payments on WhatsApp or simply payments on WhatsApp.

It could become WhatsApp Pay, like the recently-launched Facebook Pay, or Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. Or it could be just Facebook Pay on WhatsApp.

But right now, for simplicity, we will use the placeholder name – WhatsApp Payments.

 

WhatsApp Payments : Cost + Limits

This is one of the first things people will want to know – is it FREE?

Well, it is free for WhatsApp users to send or receive money through WhatsApp, subject to these limits (for Brazil) :

  • Sending limit : 1000 BRL per transaction (approx. US$196 / £155 / S$272 / A$282 / RM 837)
  • Receiving limit : 20 transactions per day, or 5000 BRL per month (approx. US$977 / £775 / S$1361 / A$1412 / RM 4,181)

If you need to exceed that limit, you need to register for a WhatsApp Business account, which lets you accept unlimited payments, and credit card payments.

However, you will need to pay a flat 3.99% processing fee, irrespective of the payment sum.

In addition, WhatsApp insists that free transfers are strictly restricted to “personal transfers between friends and family”.

All businesses, even very small ones who do NOT exceed those limits, must also use WhatsApp Business and pay the 3.99% processing fee.

Otherwise, they risk the blocking of their personal account, if WhatsApp catches them receiving payments.

 

WhatsApp Payments : How Does It Work?

WhatsApp currently restricts access to their setup methods to users in Brazil, but from what we can tell – here is basically how WhatsApp Payments work.

Setting It Up The First Time

  1. Install WhatsApp and setup your WhatsApp account, if you have not already done so.
  2. Sign up for a Facebook Pay account, if you have not already done so.
  3. Create and verify your 6-digit Facebook Pay PIN.
  4. If you wish to use your fingerprint to authenticate payment, select the Use Fingerprint option.
  5. Key in your full legal first and last names and your CPF (identity card number)
  6. Add and verify at least one supported debit / debit-enabled combo card. You can add a credit card, but they can only be used to pay businesses.

To Make Payments On WhatsApp

  1. Open a chat with the person or business you wish to send money to.
  2. Tap the Attach (paperclip) icon, and select Payment.
  3. Key in the amount you wish to send.
  4. Authenticate the payment using the 6-digit Facebook Pay PIN or your fingerprint.
  5. The money will be transferred to the recipient, and you will both receive notifications in the chat window.

 

WhatsApp Payments : What Cards Are Supported?

Currently, WhatsApp will support these Visa / Mastercard debit or credit cards in Brazil :

  • Banco do Brasil
  • Nubank
  • Sicredi

 

WhatsApp Payments : How Secure Is It?

To assure everyone that their transactions are secure, WhatsApp listed these security and privacy steps :

  • Encryption between your phone and WhatsApp servers keeps your payment information secure.
  • Advanced data storage contains multiple layers of hardware and software protection.
  • Facebook Pay PIN protection and device biometrics adds extra security before sending money.
  • You can only send money from your WhatsApp account once you have provided the correct debit or credit card information and verified that you’re the authorized user.

 

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Freshworks Omniroute + Proximity Add WhatsApp Support!

Freshworks just announced that their Omniroute and Proximity software have added support for WhatsApp Business to better deliver online customer support for businesses.

Here is a quick primer on what they did, and what it means for Omniroute and Proximity users!

 

Freshworks Omniroute

Freshworks Omniroute is a customer engagement software that helps businesses manage and direct user customer conversations. It gives their customer service agents a unified view of customer inquiries across multiple channels

 

Freshworks Omniroute Adds 1.5 Billion WhatsApp Users

Integrating Omniroute with WhatsApp Business was a logical move, allowing Omniroute to cover the massive network of 1.5 billion WhatsApp users.

This integration will make Omniroute more compelling, by giving their users the ability to directly and quickly contact their customers via WhatsApp.

“Users no longer have to jump through hoops to reach out to a business – all they have to do is flip out their mobile and engaging with their favorite brand is just a message away on WhatsApp,” says Girish Mathrubootham, CEO of Freshworks.

 

Freshworks Proximity For Freshchat

Freshworks Proximity has also added integration with WhatsApp Business. Proximity allows businesses to send our messages to their customers on a large scale.

Adding WhatsApp Business support will mean adding another avenue to reach out to that massive 1.5 billion user pool.

 

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