Firstly, it’s worth mentioning that WhatsApp remains end-to-end encrypted, making your messages safe and unreadable except by the intended recipient.
What is changing is how WhatsApp processes your data and how businesses can use Facebook’s hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats with you.
So exactly what data will WhatsApp collect?
“We collect device and connection-specific information when you install, access, or use our Services. This includes information such as hardware model, operating system information, battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network, connection information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP), language and time zone, IP address, device operations information, and identifiers (including identifiers unique to Facebook Company Products associated with the same device or account).”
What information and details will be shared with Facebook?
It added that even if you don’t use location-related features, it will collect “IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (city, country).”
Below is a breakdown of the information WhatsApp will collect from you after 8 February 2021 :
|Account||Mobile phone number and basic information.|
|Messages||Undelivered messages and forwarded media may be temporarily stored on WhatsApp’s servers in an encrypted form.|
|Connections||Phone numbers of contacts uploaded to WhatsApp can be managed by WhatsApp in a manner which does not allow them to be identified by the company.|
|Status||Status information is shared with WhatsApp.|
|Transactions and Payments||WhatsApp processes payment and transaction information such as shipping details and transaction amount if you use the app’s payment systems.|
|Customer support||Users can divulge information to WhatsApp customer support of their own volition.|
|Automatically Collected Information|
|Usage and log data||WhatsApp collects “service-related, diagnostic, and performance information” in addition to other data about user activity. This includes when you registered, what services you use, your profile photo, whether you are online, your “Last Seen” date, and more.|
|Device and Connection||WhatsApp collects hardware information such as smartphone model, operating system information, battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network, connection information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP), language and time zone, IP address, device operations information, and identifiers (including those unique to other Facebook products).|
|Location||Precise location information is collected if and when the user has opted into location-related features and uses them. In addition, IP addresses and phone number area codes are used to estimate your general location.|
|Data from others||WhatsApp collects and stores information about you from other users, such as your phone number and name.
“You should keep in mind that in general any user can capture screenshots of your chats or messages or make recordings of your calls with them and send them to WhatsApp or anyone else, or post them on another platform,” WhatsApp states.
|User reports||Other users or third parties who report you may provide information about you to WhatsApp.|
|Businesses on WhatsApp||Businesses interacting with customers may provide information about their interactions with you to WhatsApp.|
|Service Providers||WhatsApp states that it works with third-party service providers and other Facebook-owned companies to help it improve its services. “These companies may provide us with information about you in certain circumstances; for example, app stores may provide us with reports to help us diagnose and fix service issues,” WhatsApp states.|
|Third-Party Services||WhatsApp allows you to use its services in connection with other third-party services or Facebook-owned companies.
“If you use our Services with such third-party services or Facebook Company Products, we may receive information about you from them; for example, if you use the WhatsApp share button on a news service to share a news article with your WhatsApp contacts, groups, or broadcast lists on our Services, or if you choose to access our Services through a mobile carrier’s or device provider’s promotion of our Services,” WhatsApp states.
Will deleting my WhatsApp delete my data?
Nope. Deleting your WhatsApp account won’t delete your data and will not affect information that others have relating to you.
“Deleting your account will, for example, delete your account info and profile photo, delete you from all WhatsApp groups, and delete your WhatsApp message history. Be mindful that if you only delete WhatsApp from your device without using our in-app delete my account feature, your information will be stored with us for a longer period. Please remember that when you delete your account, it does not affect your information related to the groups you created or the information other users have relating to you, such as their copy of the messages you sent them.”
Be very careful interacting with Businesses accounts on WhatsApp, as the conversation and content you share may be visible to several people in that business.
“A business may give such third-party service provider access to its communications to send, store, read, manage, or otherwise process them for the business,”
Is there an alternative to WhatsApp?
Yes. There are two main contenders in the instant messaging field. Telegram and Signal.
We recommend Signal because of its remarkable security and dedication to privacy. You can read more about that here.
Telegram is also a viable option, but not all messages on telegram are encrypted, and can be read by those pesky hackers.
Telegram has more features than Signal but at a cost. For example, you can sign into multiple devices and have it all synced up because your telegram chats and history are on a server somewhere.
But if that server is compromised so is your data, because it is not encrypted.
Signal does not save your conversations anywhere but your phone. More secure, but you lose the use of it on multiple devices.
At the end of the day it is up to you to decide which service best suits your needs.