WhatsApp updates terms of service, privacy policy around data

Topics whatsapp | Facebook | Data Privacy

WhatsApp | File

WhatsApp has updated its terms of service and privacy policy regarding how it processes user data and partners with Facebook to offer integrations across the social media giant's products.

Users have received in-app prompts informing them of the update in terms of use that take effect on February 8, 2021.

The message to users noted that the key updates include more information about WhatsApp's service and how it processes user data; how businesses can use Facebook hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats; and how WhatsApp partners with Facebook to offer integrations across the company products.

The message added that users will need to accept these updates to continue using WhatsApp.

When contacted, a WhatsApp spokesperson said, "As we've previously talked as part of WhatsApp's business vision in October 2020, in order to enable small businesses better, we are updating our terms of service and privacy policy as we work to make WhatsApp a great way to get answers or help from a business."

The spokesperson said the updated terms of service and privacy policy include additional information on how the company handles user data.

"Our updated Terms and Privacy Policy provide more information on how we process your data, and our commitment to privacy.

"For example, we've added more information about more recent product features (like catalogs/ add to cart feature, etc) and functionalities, how we process your data for safety, security and integrity, and added more direct links to user settings, Help Center articles and how you can manage your information," the spokesperson said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has in the past indicated towards a connected, interoperable system where WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger can be used interchangeably.

The last time WhatsApp updated its privacy policy globally was in 2016.

WhatsApp counts India among its biggest markets with over 400 million users. More than 175 million people message a WhatsApp Business account every day globally and more than 40 million people view a business' catalog each month -- including more than 3 million in India.

In its privacy policy, WhatsApp said it works with third-party service providers and other Facebook companies to help it operate, provide, improve, understand, customise, support and market its services.

"As part of the Facebook Companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, the other Facebook Companies.

"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, customise, support, and market our services and their offerings, including the Facebook Company Products," it said.

This includes helping improve infrastructure and delivery systems; improving user experience; and providing integrations across the company's products.

For example, allowing users to connect Facebook Pay account to pay for things on WhatsApp or enabling users to chat with friends on other Facebook products, such as Portal, it explained.

WhatsApp also asserted that it offers end-to-end encryption for its services, which protects the messages from being read by WhatsApp and third parties. Also, no third-party banner ads are allowed on WhatsApp.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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