Published on Thursday , WhatsApp’s new policy is four years in the making, and claims the move to connect better with Facebook will give the site more data about users, allowing the social network to suggest phone contacts as friends.
“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,” WhatsApp said in a statement.
“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.”
The move could spark privacy concerns among users, who would worry that their private numbers will be shared among not-so close friends on Facebook – despite WhatsApp promising the opposite, and that it will simply help with better friend suggestions.
“We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers,” the company said.
While users can opt out of personalised advertising, WhatsApp will share certain information with Facebook, regardless of what you choose. As well as phone numbers, this includes data about how often people are using the service.
“This allows us to do things like improve our app’s performance and better coordinate,” said the Facebook-owned company.
WhatsApp has been adding a raft of new features of late, such as giving people the ability to send bold, italic and strikethrough text in messages, a secret font and Olympic-themed emoji.
Last month, the messaging app rolled out another update, allowing users to leave a voicemail if their call is unanswered or rejected.