New WhatsApp terms and conditions will come into effect on 8 February this year.
Before you click on “Accept” let us try and understand what these new terms and conditions are all about.
Also, let us be aware that without accepting these terms and conditions we cannot continue using the App. So, there is no choice. You either accept or you’re out.
So, this is exactly why it is so important for us to understand, if we are accepting, what we are getting into.
This is what will happen after 8 Feb 2020:
- WhatsApp will share the user’s personal information with Facebook and other services managed.
- The service collects contacts, business data when using Facebook, and even the user’s IP or geographical address (this applies to Apple phone users too)
- The terms and conditions state this: “Even if you don’t use our location-related options, we use the IP address and other information, such as area codes for phone numbers, to estimate your general location (for example, city and country). We also use your location information for diagnostic and troubleshooting purposes,”
- Whatsapp will also collect information from the primary user and their contacts or third parties. So, they will have access to your contact list and this will be gathered when other people or parties interact with you.
- By accepting the new terms and conditions, you are allowing Whatsapp and Facebook to have almost total access to your activities, which range from text messages, contacts, purchases, and interactions with third parties, payments (if you are using WhatsApp to make payments – this is already happening in India, I think). So, you are remaining in vulnerability by not having privacy.
- Your data will be accessible to Facebook and other companies it is linked with.
- Whatsapp and Facebook claim they are collecting this data for the following reasons:
- To “understand how our services are used,”
- To evaluate and improve these services
- To conduct research
- To develop new services and functions
- To carry out activities to solve problems of the application.
Of course, we must point out here that only they know their real intentions. You have to know what you are getting into before you accept these terms and conditions.
What does this mean to you?
If you are running a business:
- Update your website terms and conditions and notify your clients that you use WhatsApp as a means of communication.
- Update your engagement letters or mandate letters to notify your client that you make use of WhatsApp as a means of communication. This should also apply if you use other applications like Grammarly, which means you need to notify your clients that there is an App reading their emails.
- If you are not happy with the terms and conditions, and this applies to individuals not running a business, do not accept the new terms and conditions. Look for alternatives like Telegraph and Signal.
For further reading and references: