Few days ago I posted an article on what does google know about you.

Same day WhatsApp notified a new update on my phone… That said it wants permission to share my data with Facebook.
That too with a claim that will help them serve us better!! Really???

We all are aware that Facebook owned WhatsApp in 2014, and after 2 years Facebook has finally come up with the motive behind owning WhatsApp!!

It wants more access to our data.

Earlier when WhatsApp was invented, the main idea behind its popularity was that it was free of ads!!

We were charged a nominal amount of Rs. 55 per year and then the devil Facebook came!!!

It allowed us to use it for free!!

As we already know… That nothing comes for free… Now the cost that we will be charged is our data!!

whatsapp communication smartphone communicate phoneEarlier WhatsApp was not into data analytics and using it to sell to third parties.

But now WhatsApp data will also be used!! Our contacts, Messages that are being circulated frequently, our activities, tastes, everything will be analyzed.

Our WhatsApp account be linked with Facebook, and Facebook will push ads to our WhatsApp numbers on the basis of results of its big data analysis!!

Soon it may turn into a B2C platform!! You don’t believe? Let’s have a look at few clauses of the new privacy policy-

“Communications About Our Services and the Facebook Family of Companies-

We communicate with you about our Services and features and let you know about our terms and policies and other important updates. We may provide you marketing for our Services and those of the Facebook family of companies, of which we are now a part.” (Still don’t believe me?? See the next clause)

“No Third-Party Banner Ads- We do not allow third-party banner ads on WhatsApp. We have no intention to introduce them, but if we ever do, we will update this policy.” (They will notify us if they allow third party banner ads too!! So merciful!!)

“Commercial Messaging- We will allow you and third parties, like businesses, to communicate with each other using WhatsApp, such as through order, transaction, and appointment information, delivery and shipping notifications, product and service updates, and marketing. For example, you may receive flight status information for upcoming travel, a receipt for something you purchased, or a notification when a delivery will be made. Messages you may receive containing marketing could include an offer for something that might interest you. We do not want you to have a spammy experience; as with all of your messages, you can manage these communications, and we will honor the choices you make”. (How’s this one? Now you believe, don’t you?)

I really pity the founders of WhatsApp!! They never wanted to sell ads: they even mentioned this in their blog in 2012, because all they did in their earlier jobs was to analyze our data and sell ads!!

Let me share a portion of their blog with you all:

Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don’t need Remember, when advertising is involved you the user are the product”

“At WhatsApp, our engineers spend all their time fixing bugs, adding new features and ironing out all the little intricacies in our task of bringing rich, affordable, reliable messaging to every phone in the world. That’s our product and that’s our passion. Your data isn’t even in the picture. We are simply not interested in any of it.

“When people ask us why we charge for WhatsApp, we say “Have you considered the alternative?”

WhatsApp founders were not interested in our data, that’s why they charged us to pay their costs for operating.

But now, we are not being charged, now we are being sold!! Remember the earlier ones said that advertising is involved you are the product!!

Messages related to this new update in WhatsApp privacy policy flooded our inboxes and that recommended us to change our settings or not to accept these terms while updating it. Still if you missed such messages you may find the steps to be followed below (If you don’t consider the other alternative):

Option 1. You may disagree to the terms & conditions of new policy. Click on read terms & conditions and uncheck the box that asks for permission to share our data with Facebook.

If you did not read the terms & condition and updated your WhatsApp (Like Me) no need to worry you may choose option no. 2.

Option 2. Go to your WhatsApp settings> Account, you will see option Share my account info uncheck the box in that option. It will ask another confirmation and you have to choose Don’t Share option. It’s done!!

Recently, a petition is sent to the Delhi high court also in this regard. The petition alleged that WhatsApp’s new privacy policy is a very serious breach of policy & compromises the rights of its users & makes them vulnerable. Central govt. is required to report on this issue till 14th of sept. I hope it brings some good results.

On one hand WhatsApp talks about end to end encryption (which is nothing but a measure to deny any legal responsibility on its part to share our messages if asked by those who are charged with governance) and on the other hand it asks us about sharing our information with Facebook with a claim to improve our experiences with ads and products. Why did you do this WhatsApp!!

I don’t find anyone being interested in watching ads other than the marketing agencies. To improve our experience with their services they should stop showing these ads rather. Although it’s not possible because these companies run their business on income from ads.

Must share your views on above article, hope it was worth reading. Keep sharing and learning!!

This article is written by CA Snigdha Nigam (ACA,DISA, MBA -Finance)

She is a practising Chartered Accountant, with major exposure in bank audits. She can be reached at snigdha.231290.nigam@gmail.com

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