WhatsApp users grapple with new privacy policy

Agree to share your new personal data or your account will be deactivated. That's what WhatsApp users around the world need to decide. The company is updating its privacy policy. eTV reporter Pule Letshwiti-Jones had a chat with some experts and filed this report. Courtesy #DStv403

PARIS - The popular messaging app WhatsApp asked its some two billion users to accept new terms that will allow it to share more information with its parent company Facebook and roll out advertising and e-commerce.

The update sparked criticism among users as they must accept the changes or see their access to the service -- which also allows encrypted voice and video calls -- cut off from 8 February.

Facebook aims to monetise WhatsApp by allowing businesses to contact their clients via the platform, even sell them products directly using the service as they already do in India.

READ: Disappearing messages come to Facebook-owned WhatsApp

"Privacy policy and terms updates are common in the industry and we’re providing users with ample notice to review the changes, which go into effect on 8 February," a Facebook spokesperson said.

"All users need to accept the new terms of service if they want to continue using WhatsApp," added the spokesperson.

READ: WhatsApp now has 2 billion users

The firm said the updated terms will allow additional sharing of information between WhatsApp with Facebook and its other applications such as Instagram and Messenger, such as contacts and profile data, but not the content of messages which remain encrypted.

User advocates warned the update was not legal.

"If the only way to refuse (the modification) is to stop using WhatsApp, the consent is forced as the use of personal data is illegal," said Arthur Messaud, a lawyer for La Quadrature du net, an association that defends internet users.


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