Update on WhatsApp’s new privacy rules

We recently reported on the changes to WhatsApp’s privacy rules, making it easier for Facebook to use WhatsApp metadata for marketing purposes.

A Bloomberg article explains it very clearly by saying

Facebook says it needs it to help operate and improve its offerings. More broadly, almost all of the $21.5 billion in revenue Facebook generated in the third quarter of 2020 came from ads, and there are none in WhatsApp. The company wants to be able to serve more targeted ads to people on Facebook and Instagram by also knowing their usage habits on WhatsApp, and let businesses take payments in WhatsApp for items that, for instance, were clicked on in Instagram ads.

The main beneficiary of this will be businesses, mainly. WhatsApp says companies will be able to use new tools to communicate with, and sell to, customers on Facebook’s platform. It also said that specifically for the messages exchanged between a user and a company, that business “can see what you’re saying and may use that information for its own marketing purposes, which may include advertising on Facebook.

WhatsApp have created a FAQ on the changes which you can see here. The key message they want to give us is that WhatsApp cannot see your personal messages or hear your calls and neither can Facebook.

Remember, that this does not affect users whose terms are governed by Facebook Ireland, which include the EU and the UK. Our data protection laws prevent this, for now.