Ananya Bhattacharya | Quartz | August 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

How to Prevent Facebook from Drinking Up Some Personal Info on WhatsApp Users

endermasali/Shutterstock.com

WhatsApp is handing over your phone number to Facebook.

In a blog post today, the world’s most popular messaging service announced it will soon share users’ phone numbers with parent company Facebook. Messages, photos and WhatsApp account information from WhatsApp’s 1 billion users will not be shared.

Third-party apps are still not allowed on WhatsApp, and the company promises advertisers will not have direct access to the mobile number. Data within the app remains end-to-end encrypted. However, Facebook may use the information to serve more targeted ads on its own platform.

“For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of,” the blog post stated.

But for those who’d rather not share their information, there’s a way to keep Facebook from getting your number:

When you open the latest version of the app, don’t blindly click “agree” to the new terms and conditions. Instead, tap “Read more.”

You’ll see a box saying “Share WhatsApp account information with Facebook…” Simply uncheck it, and you’re done.

Say no. (WhatsApp)

Notice how it says it won’t share your phone number? Although WhatsApp seems to contradicts itself, what it likely means is it won’t share your current phone number. This only applies to people who’ve changed handsets or countries, and changed phone numbers in the process, but continued using their original WhatsApp account. Facebook gets access to the phone number you originally signed up with.

For those who’ve already whizzed through WhatsApp’s new policy, you can go back and undo the data-sharing permissions: In the settings, click on the “Accounts” tab, and select “Share my account info.” You can toggle the option on and off for up to 30 days after accepting the new changes.

But you can’t safeguard all your data. No matter what settings you select, Facebook and its subsidiaries will still use your information to improve infrastructure and delivery systems, count unique users and fight spam. Facebook-owned apps keep tabs on copyright infringement and spam across platforms—if a spammer is flagged on Instagram, for instance, their WhatsApp account can also be suspended.

Comments
JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.