- BBC World News
WhatsApp is forcing users who “live outside the European region” to accept that the app shares their data with Facebook – the owner of the messaging app – if they want to continue using the service.
“Privacy policies and condition updates are common in the industry and we provide users with sufficient notice to review the changes, which will take effect on February 8,” a WhatsApp owner told Facebook. AFP news.
“All users must accept the new terms of service if they want to continue using WhatsApp,” the spokesman added.
ITuSERS of the European Union and the United Kingdom, although must accept itAS newAS terms, Not will see apply change in your accountsFacebook said.
The measure has sparked numerous criticisms of the user’s data manipulation policy.
Some online privacy activists have questioned Facebook’s “accept or reject our data” policy and suggested users switch to applications such as Signal and Telegram.
What data will be shared?
Facebook told AFP that the new conditions “will allow the sharing of additional information between WhatsApp and Facebook and other applications such as Instagram and Messenger, such as contacts and profile data, but not the content of messages, which remain encrypted.”
In a frequently asked post, WhatsApp says it shares a wide range of information about its users with other Facebook companies, including:
- Phone number and other information provided in the register (such as name)
- Phone information, including make, model, and mobile company
- IP address, which indicates the location of the internet connection
- Any payment and financial transaction made via WhatsApp
Facebook has not responded to a request from the BBC to clarify why it made these sudden changes.
Arthur Messaud, lawyer for The Quadrature of the net, a French association that defends internet users, said that “if the only way to reject (change) is to stop using WhatsApp, then consent is forced because the use of personal data is illegal.”
Faced with the changes in WhatsApp, the downloads of the Signal application increased on Thursday, after being supported by personalities such as Tesla founder Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter.
Data analytics company Sensor Tower reported that more than 100,000 users installed Signal, while Telegram recorded nearly 2.2 million downloads, according to Reuters.
WhatsApp downloads fell 11% in the first seven days of 2021 compared to the previous week, according to Sensor Tower.
This update to WhatsApp terms and conditions will not affect European users, according to a statement Facebook released on Thursday, saying there will be no changes in the “European region”, which covers the EU, the European Economic Area and the UK.
“To avoid doubt, it remains true that WhatsApp does not share the data of its users in the European region with Facebook in order for Facebook to use this data to improve its products or advertisements,” said a company spokesman.
Facebook says it does not use WhatsApp information for such purposes in Europe, due to negotiations with European data protection bodies.
This exception is considered by some to be a success and a result of the strict privacy regulations introduced in Europe in recent years.
Dutch MEP Paul Tang wrote on Twitter: “Facebook grants access to all our WhatsApp data, unless … you live in the EU”.
“That’s why data protection is important.”
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