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WhatsApp wants to share your phone number with Facebook, but you can opt out

Privacy-minded WhatsApp users will want to take note of some changes to the app's newly updated terms of service and privacy policy. In a blog post, the company revealed that it has updated both documents to better reflect its relationship with its parent company, Facebook, along with various features it has implemented in the past four years. However, the one big change that sticks out is that WhatsApp says it will begin sharing users' phone numbers with Facebook.

From WhatsApp:

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.

That's a big deal because a phone number is required to use WhatsApp, as its more than one billion users are already aware. Thankfully, current WhatsApp users who may be concerned over the prospect of their phone number being shared with Facebook have a way to opt out (via Venturebeat). When presented with the new, updated terms in the app, simply tap "Read" instead of agreeing right away. From there, you can scroll down to the bottom of the screen and uncheck the box giving your permission to share information with Facebook.

If you happen to accidentally agree to the new terms before reading, all is not lost: you have 30 days after accepting to change your mind. All you have to do is head to Settings > Account > Share my account info and uncheck the box.

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QR: WhatsApp

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

73 Comments
  • I was about to get mad,as long as i can opt out then it's not much of an issue
  • For now.
  • You can't really opt-out, you can only opt-out of the part where Facebook will serve you ads based on the meta-data provides by your messages, but they will still be able to do everything else they want with it, even if you opt-out.
  • I am in Germany and my Version don't have the option under Settings
  • Same here. I'm in the US. Is it available on W10 app only?
  • I don't have it either, on w10m in India
    Edit: The privacy policy agreement poped up all of a sudden while I was using the app. It had the checkbox which I unchecked, but still no option as such in settings.
  • I think with v2.16.176
  • I see no updates for whatsapp in store.
  • Mine popped up while using the whatsapp. I didn't see any box to uncheck. Rather I saw a "not now" message on the top right hand corner which I clicked on and the notification exited.
  • Yes, w10m canada
  • You get a screen when starting WhatsApp..... Just wait..
  • Dont really use this app much, might be time to delete it.
  • Hey does anyone else have a problem with att phones on insider not being able to send or receive pictures?
  • Use the forums
  • Knew this was going to happen someday but not this quick. Good work again, Mark.
  • If facebook insists on prying on my privacy unnecessarily through whatsapp, I'd jump train to Telegram. Does everyone on whatsapp have facebook accounts anyways? Or they'll now force those with whatsapp to open facebook accounts in order to be an eligible whatsapp user.
  • I opted out. Whatsapp account deleted. It's crap anyway compared to Skype.
  • Why are you comparing WA with Skype? Two totally different apps second one being trash on WP (dont know about WM)
  • How are they different kind of apps, exactly? Can I not text people with Skype and find them by the phone number? Skype UWP is great on mobile. Additionally, Skype can transer any kind of file, sent video clips are not compressed and turned into complete junk like Whatsapp does. Seamless switching between texting, voice, video calls. Why should I not compare them? I'm allowed to make the following comparison: Skype provides everything IM related that I need and runs on every platform. Whatsapp provides almost nothing and they provided just fake apps or webapps for other platforms except phones.  
  • There have been a slew of articles on the past three weeks about WhatsApp. Please refer to them to understand the difference between Whatsapp and Skype.
    In my experience its only Americans who glibly dismiss the juggernaut that WhatsApp is. Don't be like them.
  • Please actually use both Skype and WhatsApp. I use both and I can do more with Skype than WhatsApp.
  • WhatApp?
  • It would be better if some one explained pros and cons of opting in. Going by what i understand, i am out.
  • Opting-out is pretty much useless, as it only lets you opt-out of them using your data for advertisement purposes, they can use all your data for everything else they want with it, even when opting-out.
  • Pros: They will use your messages to sell stuff more taylored to you. (If that even counts as a pro at all) Cons: They will use your messages to sell you stuff you like overpriced because they know you would pay more for the product, even though any other person would be able to buy at lower prices. Cons: Hundreds of data that define you will be on Facebook servers to be able to be used for whatever means they, or third parties they allow, want. This data can also be compromised by internal or external hacking.
     
  • What's wrong with opt out? W10 is alike.
  • Makea sense sense ,since Facebook no longer lets you use messenger without providing a phone number. It this rate, won't be long before I end up dropping Facebook completely.
  • The thing is they probably already have it. I am sure one of your friends let Messenger handle texts and calls and so they already shared your contact info with Facebook...
  • But come to think of it. We ourselves can only hide so much. What about friends and all that have our contact information stored on their devices and have given these apps permission to access phonebook? I had a call today from an old school mate last communicated with about 15 years ago. She introduced herself with her maiden name, but was shocked when I called her by her new names (spouse's). No thanks to "Truecaller" app. Lol.
  • I can't find this option on W10M
  • Can I choose not to share my account information with Facebook to improve my Facebook ads and products experiences? If you are an existing user, you can choose not to share your account information with Facebook to improve your Facebook ads and products experiences. Facebook and the Facebook family of companies will still receive and use this information 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.
    That's some "opt out".
  • Good catch.
  • All the "opt out" applies to is the "improve my Facebook ads and products experiences" part. A lot of people seem to be missing this.
  • While the "Securing systems" part may mean little or even attract the average user, to Facebook *** Whatsapp, it sounds "Securing revenue thru adverts"
  • Oh no! I wrote Facebook c-u-m Whatsapp and that's censored?! This is a harmless use of English phrase for goodness sake!
  • The catch is also on WhatsApp privacy policy, at many points they claim that they strongly protect your privacy and don't use private data. The catch is that they only define data as private if it includes your name, address or id numbers.
     
  • Where's that setting on Windows phone?
  • Maybe they forgot about Windows users? Might be the only good consequence of having 0.6% marketshare.... :)
  • Thanks FB for screwing our privacy..
    RIP WhatsApp privacy..
  • RIP? It never existed. They always used your data for many other undisclosed uses. Their ToS and PP always claimed they protected you private data, the catch is that they define private data only data that includes your real name, address and id numbers. The ToS later recognise the use "data" for "other" purposes, including exchanging with 3rd parties.
     
  • No option like that under account for me
  • I Don't see any setting as mentioned in an article to redo the setting. Can anyone explain ???
  • No such option on my Android version of WhatsApp
  • The button is being rolled out to all users, but it's no use anyway, the opt out only pretest's your data from advertisement use, they are still able to do anything with it, even when you do opt-out.
  • Where is this option? Can the author please add a screenshot to the article? It's not there as far as I can tell.
  • It hasn't been enabled yet. It'll probably appear in a future update.
  • Since I couldn't find the option, I closed my account. Good riddens anyway. I can communicate through Viber, Skype and Telegram anyway.
  • It seems that typing isn't your thing anyway...
  • https://www.whatsapp.com/faq/general/26000016
  • They should update the GUI of the app. Make it universal or atleast follow Windows 10 app design. It look so 8.1ish.
  • They should just quit already, FB has really put the nail in the coffin of WA.
  • first they have to resolve app scaling issues for win10 WhatsApp app... how hard it is to resolve ? in android, apps r running from 4 inch to 7 inch phones and phablets still they never have app scaling issues but y for windows 10 mobile users ? I request everyone to send an EM to WhatsApp and make them to resolve this issue.... I sent EM several times n no feedback.
  • Who isn't throwing ads at you? Xbox Live has ads even though you pay for that service. FIFA, ads for their new game on the old game. Windows 10, little app ad on the start menu. So, this is no different and it's free. Not that I'm ok with it, but it seems to be the norm. I'm just more upset on getting ads on the stuff I pay for and the loudness of the ads in comparison to everything else in a game or Live service, etc.
  • Sorry but eh, u guys might want to explain it a little better seeing the comments.
  • I love Whatsapp but I don't have Facebook account so I'm not impacted
  • You are, FB can now generate a profile based on your WA usage even without a FB account.
  • If you continue to use WhatsApp then Facebook will be given your account information.
    Your Account Information. You provide your mobile phone number to create a WhatsApp account. You provide us the phone numbers in your mobile address book on a regular basis, including those of both the users of our Services and your other contacts. You confirm you are authorized to provide us such numbers. You may also add other information to your account, such as a profile name, profile picture, and status message.
     
  • I have seen messages from Facebook asking if I know individuals and suggesting I add 'em to my friends list. A close scrutiny shows that even though those contacts are not facebook friends, the commonplace where Facebook could have linked such individuals with me was from my phone address book. I guess one may need another mobile phone to store the contacts but without any social app installed while completely wiping off the contact list from the one with social apps.
  • No option on the beta to opt out. Perhaps only the release version?
  • We will get adds, and i hate adds.
  • I don' t see the option to opt out in Settings-> Account.
    WA 2.16.172, W10M 14393.103 Lumia 950XL
  • Not in my settings :/
  • Ha! Called it. I'm surprised it took them so long to do that
  • In this day and age, when telemarketers and spam callers have easy access to our phone numbers, how difficult is it for Facebook to get hold of the phone number of its users? At least they are informing beforehand.
  • As of now I don't have the option to opt out.
  • This shouldn't be something you have to opt OUT.
    This should be something you have to opt IN.
  • I already use WhatsApp and Facebook but have always witheld my phone number from them. I have now opted out of WhatsApp sharing my phone number with advertisers. I dont mind telemetry used to make money for what is after all, a free service.. But, big but, I don't want that done linked to my personal or business phone number.. If I start getting a load of c**p after this opt out, simple, delete all accounts owned by Facebook. As said by many, although Facebook is useful for keeping up with friends and family, I can live without it. For messaging there are many options...
  • Privacy minded users don't use WhatsApp...
     
  • So what other means D'you suggest? SMSes and voice calls?
  • the privacy option states:
    "...Your chats and phone number will not be shared onto Facebook regardless of this setting." (The setting being whether to share account info with FB.)
  • The most important word in that scentence is "onto". Note that it's not the word "with".
  • Thanks! Nice catch!
  • Το WhatsApp μετά την ενημέρωση που πήρε για το fb έχει μπλοκάρει το viber και δεν έρχονται ειδοποιήσεις .πατε ρυθμίσεις ιδιοτικωτητα και ξεκλικαρετε την επιλογή που δίνει για τις πληροφορίες για τις δαφημθσεις στο fb.μετά από αυτό το viber θα σας ξανά ενημερώσει για τα μηνύματα και τις κλήσεις