WhatsApp Revises Terms of Service, Privacy Policy; to Test Messages from Businesses

WhatsApp is becoming more like parent company Facebook, both in terms of privacy and enabling communications between business and users.

WhatsApp is becoming more like parent company Facebook, both in terms of privacy and enabling communications between business and users.

The messaging application announced in a blog post that its terms of service and privacy policy have been updated for the first time in four years in order to reflect its acquisition by Facebook in October 2014, as well as recent updates including end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp Calling and its tools for the web and desktop. More details follow:

We’re also updating these documents to make clear that we’ve rolled out end-to-end encryption. When you and the people you message are using the latest version of WhatsApp, your messages are encrypted by default, which means you’re the only people who can read them. Even as we coordinate more with Facebook in the months ahead, your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them–not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else. We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share or give your phone number to advertisers.

But by coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of. You can learn more, including how to control the use of your data, here.

WhatsApp also said it will begin testing features in the next several months that will allow businesses to communicate with users, adding in its blog post:

People use our app every day to keep in touch with the friends and loved ones who matter to them, and this isn’t changing. But as we announced earlier this year, we want to explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you, too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam. Whether it’s hearing from your bank about a potentially fraudulent transaction or getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight, many of us get this information elsewhere, including in text messages and phone calls. We want to test these features in the next several months, but need to update our terms and privacy policy to do so.

Readers: What are your thoughts on the changes announced by WhatsApp?