Before updating WhatsApp, four questions about the new messaging data sharing policy

A Starting May 15, millions of users will have to agree to install an update and new terms and conditions in order to continue using the app.


WhatsApp had pushed back the deadline to relieve the pressure, but from Saturday May 15, users of the application will no longer be able to escape the new update, which was initially supposed to be installed before the 8th. February. In January, a deluge of criticism, related to the change in the perimeter of data from WhatsApp that will be shared with its parent company Facebook, had pushed back messaging. Explanations.

What happens from May 15th?

From May 15, by downloading the WhatsApp update, users will accept that their personal data is collected by the application. If the user refuses this update, his account will be suspended. However, it will not be deleted: you will be able to find your account and your conversations as they are once the new payment has been validated.

If you don’t want to install the update, “You won’t be able to access your discussion list, but you will still be able to answer incoming phone and video calls. If you have enabled notifications, you can tap it to read or reply to a message ”, explains WhatsApp on its site.

The application will also display a reminder that you accept the new terms of use which will eventually become recurrent (…) after a period of several weeks ”. At the end of this period of “Limited operation”, “WhatsApp will stop sending messages and calls to your phone”.

What is changing for users?

The new regulations plans to share more user data with Facebook, the parent company of instant messaging. The maneuver aims to make the courier service profitable, which generates virtually no income, as explained The world. Since Facebook’s takeover of WhatsApp in 2014 for $ 19 billion, the application has not significantly changed its business model.

In fact, the only change will concern “sending messages to a company”: if you communicate on WhatsApp with a company, the content of these exchanges, as well as your possible purchases, can be used, in particular to personalize advertisements on Facebook or Instagram. Already in 2017, Jan Koum, one of the founders of WhatsApp, explained that “This could be used to contact your bank to find out if a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight”, as reported Forbes.

On the other hand, Facebook will not be able to read the content of the messages exchanged between the correspondents, nor to access the history or the location, because these are end-to-end encrypted. Users will also always be asked to agree to share their number with a company. Facebook management further specifies that there will be no advertising targeting, at least for communications between individuals. It should be noted that since 2016, WhatsApp already shares a lot of information with Facebook, such as the phone number, the time of use of the application or the device used.

Who is affected by this update?

All users of the application. But for the time being, within the European Union, the information message received by users shows a lighter development than that expected in Africa, Asia and America. Because the general data protection regulation, entered into force in May 2018, stipulate that “the data collection of European citizens in a strict framework excludes commercial reuse ”.

The notification states that “Key updates” relate only tothe WhatsApp service and the way we treat your data ” as well as “How businesses can use services hosted by Facebook to store and manage their WhatsApp conversations”. The update mainly concerns personal-to-business communications via WhatsApp Business, a version that offers additional features tailored to business needs.

How do I quit WhatsApp?

If you no longer wish to use WhatsApp, you can delete your account by following the procedure described on the WhatsApp site. Please note, this process is final. Instead, you can turn to other messengers like Telegram or Signal. Launched in 2014, the latter is considered by specialists as one of the most secure messaging applications on the market thanks in particular to its ability to encrypt end-to-end messages or audio and video calls.

She quickly became popular with whistleblowers and journalists, not least thanks to the public support of Edward Snowden. In February, the European Commission even recommended it to its teams, in particular to secure exchanges with people outside the organization. To better conquer its new users, Signal has published a tutorial (in English) to help them easily import their group conversations from another messaging app.


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