A few days ago WhatsApp announced a new privacy policy, saying that the new policy was needed because in future it would be sharing some user details with its parent company Facebook. Of these some details, a few were spelled out by Facebook. It said that your phone number as well as some general user-related data will be shared with Facebook so that Facebook can show you better ads in Timeline.

What is that fine print? Whether you opt out or opt in, your WhatsApp data is going to be shared with Facebook. Here is how WhatsApp explains it:
“The Facebook family of companies will still receive and use this information for other purposes such as improving infrastructure and delivery systems, understanding how our services or theirs are used, securing systems, and fighting spam, abuse, or infringement activities.”

In other words, what WhatsApp is saying here is that Facebook will get your WhatsApp as well as other user details. It’s just that if you uncheck that privacy policy, this data – and this is a promise from WhatsApp and Facebook – will not be used for targeted advertisement. At least not right now.

Time to freak out?

A little. Although, this was inevitable. WhatsApp is a free service and it somehow needs to monetise itself. As we have seen again and again, if a web service is free it’s invariably going to earn money by making use of the user data it has. The important bit here is in what way it makes use of this data.

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Now, with some services you may not mind it. For example, on an image host you may not mind seeing the ads of a camera while you store your photos there for free. But in the case of services like WhatsApp, it’s little more nuanced considering how much users data the service has and the fact that this data is very personal.

But at the same, the world is definitely not ending. Much of the data that WhatsApp is going to provide to Facebook is possibly similar what the social media giant already have from you, or what you have given to Google through Gmail, Hangouts and Android.

These companies already have a lot of your personal data, which they use for targeted advertising. If you don’t mind Google or Facebook this data to serve ads to you, you don’t have to worry too much about WhatsApp’s new privacy.

But if it concerns you that Facebook knowns almost everything about your life and you are willing to uninstall it from your phone, go ahead do that with WhatsApp too because after its new privacy policy you may not like the way it may use your usage data.