WhatsApp Does About-Face on Privacy Policy as Company Plans to Share User Information with Facebook

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WhatsApp promised users that, when it was acquired by Facebook in 2014, their digital privacy would not be affected.

” I want to make sure you understand how deeply I value the principle of private communication,” cofounder Jam Koum said back then. “Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA.”

Fast-forward two years and the tune of cofounder Koum and co. has changed. WhatsApp announced this week it is changing its policy to begin boosting revenues.

The company says it plans to allow businesses to contact users through its platform—a tactic that may also be employed by Facebook Messenger.

One Billion People Now Use Facebook Messenger

“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,” WhatsApp said in a blog post announcing the changes to its privacy policy.

The company will also begin disclosing member phone numbers and user analytics to Facebook, which WhatsApp says will be used to reduce spam text messages.

Much of the success of WhatsApp came from its hard-nosed privacy policies, which appealed to users who felt like they had to divulge excess information to use apps like Facebook.

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