Back in 2014 when Facebook acquired WhatsApp, the founders stated that nothing was going to change about the messaging app. In their words, they said “Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing.”
By nothing, they meant, among other things, WhatsApp will not share users’ information, will continue to run as a standalone app and that ads will not suddenly show up and do what ads do: interrupt the flow of communication.
The founders actually kept their promise until today. In a blog post announcing sweeping changes to its terms & privacy policy, the founders stated some things were going to change.
Chief among the changes is the sharing on information with Facebook, its parent company. Facebook will be able to access users’ mobile numbers in order to offer them better friend suggestions and relevant ads.
“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,” the founders stated.
Aside the phone numbers, Facebook will also be able to see the last time you used the messaging app. However, none of these information will be seen by other users, both on Facebook and WhatsApp.
WhatsApp stated that this change was necessary to help it fight spam and abuse, and improve experiences across its services and those of Facebook and the Facebook family.
These weren’t the only changes to WhatsApp however. In the coming months, the company will be opening the platform to businesses as it promised some months back.
This means users will be able to do things like communicate with their bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight.
Although most users already get in touch with various business entities through text messages, phone calls and whatnot, WhatsApp promises to make it a lot easier and fun.
Did you see this coming? What do you think about it?

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