WhatsApp has finally gone and done what most of us feared would happen back when it was acquired by Facebook in 2014. It’s planning to share a limited amount of user data with its parent company. Not only that, the chat platform is also looking to allow businesses to message consumers.
First-off, WhatsApp is going to start connecting its user’s numbers with Facebook’s systems. As per a blog post, this will allow the social networking site to offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads. As the company puts it, you’ll begin seeing advertisements for brands you already work with rather than a random one.
This move will likely anger people who don’t want Facebook to know their number and target ads according to their activity. WhatsApp maintains that it won’t post or share your phone number on the site or sell it to advertisers. The app is, however, planning to help firms get in touch with individuals, as it had announced it would do earlier this year.
According to WhatsApp, the shift in strategy will allow people to get texts from businesses like their bank about fraudulent transactions, notifications from their airline with regards to a delayed flight, or shipping information and receipts for something they have bought. This list also includes marketing messages which could offer consumers something they might be interested in.
The last one sounds an awful lot like spam. WhatsApp itself clarifies that it doesn’t want its patrons to have a spammy experience, which is why they’ll be able to manage such communications. They can even choose to opt out of sharing information with Facebook by heading to Settings followed by Account.
WhatsApp is planning to test these new changes over the course of the next couple of months. It’s also made it clear that it’s not going to weaken its current end-to-end encryption policy which prevents anyone from reading a user’s conversations. So while you’re chats are safe, everything else seems to be fair game.