One of the biggest changes is end-to-end encryption. It will continue the same in groups and private conversations but will cease to exist in conversations with business accounts that have hired a company to store and manage messages – after all, there will be a third party reading/storing/managing that conversation. Besides, the content of these conversations may be used by companies to target ads on other Facebook platforms, such as Instagram. All of this is explained in this Facebook post.
What about sharing data with Facebook?
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Many people were amazed. In fact, it is surprising, considering the volume of WhatsApp data that Facebook already uses to improve its algorithms (See here). The company already does this on the web, extracting data from websites you visit and other applications, through its SDK, a type of code that facilitates the use of resources such as, for example, Facebook’s own login to applications.
For many users, data transfer from WhatsApp to Facebook has been going on since 2016. At the time, Facebook broke its promise and warned that it would cross WhatsApp data with its other services. Users who did not want this could say no. But everyone who didn’t say no (“opt-out,” which means that doing nothing is accepting the change) or who created their WhatsApp accounts later had their WhatsApp data crossed with other Facebook platforms.
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In the European Union, which fined Facebook € 110 million in 2019 for lying about WhatsApp’s personal data sharing, the app’s data will not be crossed. But despite this, European users report that they received the same warning about the change. In fact, Facebook executives have spoken out on the matter to calm things down.
Did it get worse?
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Some misinformation and misunderstanding are circulating about WhatsApp changes, but all the fuss is justified. If you have the option, use Signal or use Telegram.
Translated by Carolina Pompeo.
This article was originally published (in Portuguese) on the blog Manual do Usuário