Changes to Whatsapp terms are much bigger than just sharing your phone number with Facebook

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The recent change in Whatsapp’s privacy policy to allow it to share your phone number and other data with Facebook may have hit the headlines, but there is actually something that could be more intrusive buried in the same update.

As well as Whatsapp now sharing your phone number with Facebook, its updated policy also reveals that the popular instant messaging app will soon start showing ads to users.

While this has long been expected, it is the first time that Facebook owned Whatsapp has acknowledged that it will soon start pushing advertising to users of the app.

The announcement was made at the same time as the controversial move for Whatsapp to share user data with Facebook.

That change, which includes sharing data such as your phone number and the times of when you use Whatsapp, sparked anger from users and even investigations for privacy regulators.

But another change to Whatsapp’s policy mean that the ads will soon be coming to the app.

Whatsapp has said that these ads won’t be intrusive but are likely to come from businesses or organisations you have interacted with and expect services like banks and airlines to be among the first to feature in the advertisements.

Opt out from Whatsapp sharing your phone number with Facebook

Opt out from Whatsapp sharing your phone number with Facebook

“People use our app every day to keep in touch with the friends and loved ones who matter to them, and this isn’t changing. But as we announced earlier this year, we want to explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam”, Whatsapp said in a blog post

“Whether it’s hearing from your bank about a potentially fraudulent transaction, or getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight, many of us get this information elsewhere, including in text messages and phone calls. We want to test these features in the next several months, but need to update our terms and privacy policy to do so”.

While you can stop Whatsapp from sharing your phone number with Facebook, it is unclear if opting out of the new terms will also stop ads appearing in the messaging app.

Whatsapp has not served ads to users before and used to make its money from by charging a one time fee for users.

However, that fee has since been dropped and it has long been expected that Facebook would use the app in some way to make money from the company it purchased in 2014 for almost $19 billion.

 

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