Block WhatsApp from sharing (most) data with Facebook - gHacks Tech News

Block WhatsApp from sharing (most) data with Facebook

WhatsApp users worldwide will receive a prompt over the course of the next few days that moves the application one step closer to its parent company Facebook.

As you know, Facebook acquired WhatsApp back in 2014 for $19 billion. While it pushed one of the most successful messaging products into Facebook's product lineup, many wondered how the company was turning WhatsApp into a profitable product.

WhatsApp subscriptions were thrown out the door in early 2016, and no other form of revenue generation was introduced.

It was clear that Facebook had only two main options to generate revenue from WhatsApp: data sharing, or advertisement.

Apparently, both are coming to WhatsApp as the prompt displayed to users suggests. WhatsApp spins it as something good for the user, that it can better fight spam and abuse for instance by sharing data with Facebook. Facebook may display better ads on its site as well thanks to the data sharing.

Users need to agree to the new terms to continue using WhatsApp. They may however opt out of some of the data sharing with Facebook if they tap on the read more link.

Since most probably won't, there is still an option to block your phone number from being shared with Facebook after the prompt has been accepted.

Block WhatsApp from sharing your phone number with Facebook

whatsapp disable share account info

To disable the sharing of account information after you accepted the prompt, do the following:

  1. Open WhatsApp on your Android device.
  2. Tap on the three dots to open the menu.
  3. Select Settings from the menu that opens.
  4. Select Account on the settings page.
  5. Tap on "Share my account info" to disable this.

The info box below the share my account info option reads:

Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook to improve my Facebook ads and products experiences. Your chats and phone number will not be shared onto Facebook regardless of this setting.

It needs to be noted that this is not a full opt-out as WhatsApp will still share data 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" with Facebook.

FAQ

WhatsApp published a FAQ that answers several of the most important questions that users may have:

Will there be ads on WhatsApp?

Short answer: no third-party apps, no spammy experience.

WhatsApp plans to bring businesses and users together however, for instance by providing users with delivery and shipping notifications from companies they ordered products from.

In the future, we will explore ways for you and businesses to communicate with each other using WhatsApp, such as through order, transaction, and appointment information, delivery and shipping notifications, product and service updates, and marketin

What information is shared with Facebook, and Facebook family companies?

The answer is rather vague, as it mentions that "some information" will be shared. An example given mentions "some" of the account information that includes the phone number.

Will information that users share on WhatsApp be visible on Facebook?

Nothing you share on WhatsApp, including your messages, photos, and account information, will be shared onto Facebook or any of the Facebook family of apps for others to see.

Summary
Block WhatsApp from sharing (most) data with Facebook
Article Name
Block WhatsApp from sharing (most) data with Facebook
Description
Find out how to block the messaging application WhatsApp from sharing some information with its parent company Facebook.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Velocity.Wave said on August 27, 2016 at 8:00 am
    Reply

    PROTIP: don’t share your private info/videos on Facebook, or Whatsapp.

  2. Dave said on August 27, 2016 at 8:35 am
    Reply

    I visited the site today just to find this article… which I entirely expected ;)

    But I was expecting a little more. For example, how to delete my account without agreeing to the new terms.

  3. Noz said on August 27, 2016 at 8:37 am
    Reply

    What if you just never accept the terms by always selecting “Not now” at the top of the page ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 27, 2016 at 12:11 pm
      Reply

      It is likely that the decision will be forced at one point in time.

  4. zeomal said on August 27, 2016 at 8:40 am
    Reply

    The option to disable data sharing with Facebook isn’t available to every user, irrespective of whether they were informed about the data sharing clause in the ToS through WhatsApp itself.

    Does anybody know why?

    1. Dave said on August 27, 2016 at 5:26 pm
      Reply

      It could be if you joined Whatsapp after the Facebook acquisition you have no protection.

    2. ilev said on August 28, 2016 at 6:49 am
      Reply

      On Android devices disabling data sharing is under account. On iOS devices its inside the new privacy policy. You have to scroll the policy to its end.

  5. ask said on August 27, 2016 at 8:50 am
    Reply

    Many sites have provide the same screenshot but I don’t have ‘Share my account info’ option. I’m using latest version, anyone know why?

  6. Robert said on August 27, 2016 at 9:22 am
    Reply

    There is no such an option on iOS as for now. But they have requested to accept new privacy policy lately so I assume that everything written in articles stays true.

    1. insanelyapple said on August 27, 2016 at 11:57 am
      Reply

      There’s also no such option on Windows Phone version and whatsapp was updated few days ago.

      1. Dave said on August 27, 2016 at 5:35 pm
        Reply

        Mine has the option. Maybe you joined after the Facebook acquisition. In that case, I don’t think you get protection (because you knew what you were getting into)

    2. ilev said on August 28, 2016 at 6:50 am
      Reply

      On iOS devices its inside the new privacy policy. You have to scroll the policy to its end.

  7. Anonymous said on August 27, 2016 at 11:25 am
    Reply

    Reading some articles it seems that “blocking” WhatsApp from sharing (MOST?) data with Facebook is possible only on iPhone.

    http://www.tomsguide.fr/actualite/whatsapp-empecher-numero-telephone-facebook,52882.html
    FR: “Notez finalement que cette nouvelle fonctionnalité ne semble concerner que les possesseurs d’iPhone. Sur Android, nous n’y avons pas eu droit (ou alors c’est un “bug” dans l’application ?).”
    EN: Note finally that this new feature seems to only concern iPhone owners. On Android, we have not this choice (or so it is a “bug” in the application?).

    1. Dave said on August 27, 2016 at 5:27 pm
      Reply

      Windows Phone has the block option.

  8. MikeFromMarkham said on August 27, 2016 at 12:11 pm
    Reply

    This showed up on my Nexus 6P yesterday. After careful consideration, I deleted my WhatsApp account entirely. It only affects one person in my contact list, and I informed them of my decision before pulling the plug. After having avoided Facebook and its ilk forever, I have no intention of sharing data with them in any form in the future. Whatever they may have scraped from WhatsApp user accounts in the past two years without telling us about it is all they’re ever going to get from me, and I “Like” that.

  9. Xi said on August 27, 2016 at 12:27 pm
    Reply

    What if it was side-loaded apk? I recently tested on a friend’s android device by installing v2.16.241. However, it didn’t show the notification. I think it is v2.16.242 or v2.16.243 or v2.16.244 or v2.16.246 onwards.

    Exactly which version does the new terms notification arises?

    1. Dave said on August 27, 2016 at 6:27 pm
      Reply

      Don’t Whatsapp apps expire? Either that or they don’t let you install old versions.

      1. Xi said on August 28, 2016 at 8:23 am
        Reply

        You can use the old versions for limited period around 6 months or if the point release have more changes to the app. Post which it’ll be expired. Also, since the latest stable is v2.16.143, it should be the version which is showing updated terms and fb integration to all.
        This was tested on v2.12.413 limited beta version which was not open to download apk in whatsapp site too.

  10. Odin said on August 27, 2016 at 2:30 pm
    Reply

    What if you don’t have a facebook account?

    1. Dave said on August 27, 2016 at 5:49 pm
      Reply

      Doesn’t really matter. If you agree to Facebook’s terms they own you just the same as if you agree to their terms on facebook.com

    2. ilev said on August 28, 2016 at 6:59 am
      Reply

      It doesn’t matter. WhatsApp, Instagram.. will pass your data to Facebook.

  11. P said on August 27, 2016 at 4:52 pm
    Reply

    Recommendations for alternatives?

    1. Dave said on August 27, 2016 at 5:33 pm
      Reply

      If you’re in the West, Facebook Messenger. See what they did there? This kind of stuff used to be illegal.
      If you’re in Russia, Viber.
      If you only talk to people with iPhones, iMessage.

      If anything else was a viable alternative, all your contacts would already have it. That’s what makes it viable.

      Signal is considered the best contender, except no-one uses it. This is the time for them to go all out on marketing. I’m sure Martin will do a review any day now… ;-)

      1. Danny said on August 28, 2016 at 4:16 pm
        Reply

        Telegram.

        I’ve been using it for years, and it beats WhatsApp in pretty much every category.

    2. Xi said on August 27, 2016 at 7:32 pm
      Reply

      Use any of the below which suits you:
      *LINE from Japan for more fascinating features with better security and encryption. It is one of the first Android app to bring High Quality(Much better clarity compared to Skype too) free call and messaging at one app and which is FREE too. WhatsApp was too late.
      *Signal Private Messenger for the support for older android gingerbread versions with the same encryption level of WhatsApp. WhatsApp actually used Signal(OpenWhisper Systems) Encryption utility.
      *Hike is another one from China. However, it may lack good security/encryption standards. May contain backdoors.
      *Others are imo, yahoo, ….. which lack many features and more unpatched vulnerabilities, explots and backdoors.

      1. ilev said on August 28, 2016 at 7:00 am
        Reply

        Signal(OpenWhisper Systems) Encryption utility is a NSA backed project.

        Telegram is a much safer/better alternative.

      2. Xi said on August 28, 2016 at 8:31 am
        Reply

        I used to recommend Signal or Telegram. However, all Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp data are nabbed by Forensic Tool, cyber espionage, SS7 and more. Viber and other apps too have these kind of security issues which goes unresolved. Hence, there is no best encryption with any app now.
        More info & Related articles:
        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/08/15/retroscope/
        http://thehackernews.com/2016/08/hack-telegram-account.html
        http://news.softpedia.com/news/cyber-espionage-group-scraped-telegram-for-the-phone-numbers-of-iranian-users-506945.shtml
        http://www.scmagazine.com/mac-os-telegram-flaw-recorded-anything-users-pasted-in-app/article/512306/
        http://news.softpedia.com/news/ss7-attack-leaves-whatsapp-and-telegram-encryption-useless-503894.shtml

      3. Ritwick said on August 28, 2016 at 2:55 pm
        Reply

        Hike is completely an Indian app. You can google it. Not to say that it may not have backdoors or security vulnerabilities. It’s built by the son of the founder of Airtel (Biggest mobile service operator in India currently).

      4. Xi said on August 29, 2016 at 6:24 pm
        Reply

        Compared Signal & Telegram App Permissions and Signal is not like the old TextSecure. It asks for more unwanted(for many) or irrelevant permissions. While Telegram asks for the permissions which are required for using the app.

        If you compare features vs permissions in WhatsApp & LINE, LINE asks less permissions compared to WhatsApp.

        If anyone want a good app whi9ch includes better security, call & chat feature and other sharing features, LINE is recommended.

        If only require a Secure, Chat & sharing features, can opt for Telegram. However, supported only Android 4.0+ devices. If anyone planning/wishing to port to Ubuntu Touch in future, Telegram would be much useful.

      5. Xi said on August 29, 2016 at 8:49 pm
        Reply

        @Ritwick: Yes, it is from India. However, Please read this for your FYI that Hike development is sourced and maintained by Chinese(Tencent):
        http://www.zdnet.com/article/why-the-chinese-have-transformed-indias-hike-messenger-into-a-unicorn-and-what-whatsapp-can-learn/

        Hike is just owned by India but they do nothing in its development. Hence, we say Hike as chinese.

    3. insanelyapple said on August 27, 2016 at 7:41 pm
      Reply

      I’d say Telegram but there may be a risk that communication is intercepted by Russian security services

  12. Anders P. said on August 27, 2016 at 7:13 pm
    Reply

    I’m not getting that option. Maybe because I’m using the beta?

  13. Nebulus said on August 27, 2016 at 7:16 pm
    Reply

    I blocked WhatsApp from doing that by uninstalling it and removing the account.

  14. COMSEC said on August 27, 2016 at 8:37 pm
    Reply

    Probably these are 2nd Party partners of NSA Agency.

    In mid-2008, The Pirate Bay was censored in Italy after the country’s ISPs were ordered to block their subscribers from accessing the site. The Guardia di Finanza of Bergamo directed the operation…

    By lurking this informational site: http://electrospaces.blogspot.it/p/nsas-tao-division-codewords.html

    …I found an Operation called ATALANTA. Strange name, taken from a demigod or from the Bergamo football team?

  15. 0101010101 said on August 28, 2016 at 10:17 am
    Reply

    I have never used whatsApp , really low quality software there are lots of Alternatives , if I compare it with viber , viber is much better than whatsapp zuckerberg is just a Jewish like others he worship the money , the owner of the companies always show us the real face of them

    1. Rob said on December 19, 2016 at 10:35 am
      Reply

      Interesting place to find an antisemitic comment. Jews do not worship money

  16. Jeff said on August 29, 2016 at 8:49 am
    Reply

    Use Telegram and if you’re concerned about privacy, turn on 2 step verification and always use secret chats.

  17. Anonymous said on August 29, 2016 at 12:35 pm
    Reply

    >2016
    >using whatsapp

    1. COMSEC said on August 29, 2016 at 6:13 pm
      Reply

      >being this new

  18. David said on August 29, 2016 at 1:30 pm
    Reply

    What happens when I get a new phone? Will I be considered a new user, even if I keep my phone number? What about if I get a new phone number? The agreement that allows Facebook to buy Whatsapp protected existing users, not existing accounts. I don’t feel like anyone is enforcing the rules of that agreement, and if anyone is, it’ll take eight years before they actually make a move.

  19. David said on September 6, 2016 at 6:17 pm
    Reply

    10 days later, and the results are in. The only viable alternatives right now are:

    Viber
    iMessage

    Between these two, most people seem to be covered. The other services just aren’t popular enough to be drop-in replacements. Both Viber and iMessage use your phone number which makes things very easy, and both work on far more devices than Whatsapp does (although in the case of iMessage, only Apple devices).

    I found Signal to be a good SMS replacement app for Android. It handles your SMS messages, but uses its own encrypted internet chat service if your contact has Signal, so it doesn’t hurt to use it as your SMS app.

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