Why the sudden concern, when WhatsApp had access to our data since 2016?

Aniket Gupta
2 min readJan 15, 2021

Recently, a single page of Outright Consent has led to an 11% decrease in new installs of WhatsApp.

Is this a new change? No, WhatsApp has been collecting all the data with Facebook since 2016.

If you are curious to know what is shared, here you go -

“Profile name, Profile picture, IP Address, Battery Level, Signal Strength, App Version, Browser Information, Mobile Network, Language and Time Zone, Device Operations Information, and Identifiers.”

Photo by Tobias Tullius on Unsplash

So what’s happening?

WhatsApp asked for consent towards sharing the user’s data with Facebook, non-compliance to which by Feb 8th would lead to the removal of the account.

WhatsApp did this to “Offer integrations across the Facebook Company Products.” To put in simple words, whatever the user is doing inside the WhatsApp universe will be shared across — Instagram and Messenger to show targeted ads.

But this has been the case since 2016 when they changed their privacy policy. Despite whatever promises were made by Facebook in 2014, while acquiring WhatsApp. The Pop-up notification received by users in 2021 is more about informing them and taking their consent to what they have been doing for the past four years.

“Our updated Terms and Privacy Policy provide more information on how we process your data, and our commitment to privacy,” WhatsApp wrote on Monday.

This small mandatory consent has harmed WhatsApp in a way no one would have ever thought of.

This notification has served as a wake-up call to all privacy concerned users that this is it. Now Facebook has crossed some virtual privacy barrier, from which there is no return.

The same is evident from the recent Privacy Policy change at WhatsApp, which stated- “If you are an existing user, you can choose not to have your WhatsApp account information shared with Facebook to improve your Facebook ads and products experiences.” Now, this quote is nowhere to be found.

This whole privacy debacle has benefited messaging platforms based on “privacy”. At least for now, as we all know the story of WhatsApp, how the company has transcended since 2009.

Signal and Telegram have seen a huge user turnout, in upwards of 4000%, as reported by multiple analytics reports. The main contributor being the infamous tweet by Elon Musk! “Use signal”

It’s very immature to say that WhatsApp is dead or it’s headed for a downfall. However privacy concerned one is, one still needs a common platform to converse with his friends and family. And unless something disastrous happens, that’s not gonna happen anytime soon.

Have you switched from WhatsApp?

PS: Nothing is really free in Life. We are charged nothing because it’s in fact us that are being sold to Product Advertisers.