WhatsApp clarifies it won’t share location details, keep logs of texts

WhatsApp clarifies it won’t share location details, keep logs of texts
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12 Jan, 2021

As messaging platform WhatsApp faced worldwide pushback for its privacy policy update that is set to come into effect on February 8, the Facebook-owned firm on Tuesday released a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to clear the air.

With users concerned over WhatsApp’s data sharing clause with Facebook, the firm said that it would not keep a log of messages and calls, protecting end-to-end encryption. It added that it would not share location data or contact books users with other companies, including parent Facebook.

Data that will be shared includes browsing and purchase history on the Facebook Shops feature on WhatsApp to enable personalisation and targeted advertising, it said. Additionally, data on the user -- details of which were not specified -- will also be shared with the merchant to process payments and orders, it said. 

“While we share your activity on Shops, we take measures to limit information sharing and do not share your contacts or group information,” the data security and policy FAQ said. 

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The updated policy also says that businesses using Facebook’s hosting service to manage WhatsApp chats with customers will be able to see all conversations around the business over the user’s phone, email and WhatsApp. These businesses can use the information for marketing, including advertising on Facebook, a statement issued on the policy update said.

“To make sure you’re informed, we clearly label conversations with businesses that are choosing to use hosting services from Facebook,” the company said in its update. 

WhatsApp has a user base of 2 billion worldwide, of which over 400 million monthly active users are in India, as per 2019 data. 

“We want to be clear that the policy update does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data,” the statement said.