It appears that the advertising-free WhatsApp is looking at ways to link users to businesses. WhatsApp company said that:
“we want to explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam. Whether it’s hearing from your bank about a potentially fraudulent transaction, or getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight, many of us get this information elsewhere, including in text messages and phone calls.”
WhatsApp goes onto re-iterate that they will not make people’s conversations, images, videos, voice notes or phone numbers public. These will stay encrypted between the recipients. The policy changes information is here
Not surprisingly, regardless of how much WhatsApp is assuring the users that private information will not be shared, WhatsApp users are weary of this move for fear of loosing the last ad-free platform and being bombarded by ads.
The optimist see this as a business opportunity for companies to engage with customers and offer better customer service experience. Think of a situation where the bank messages you to confirm a transaction on your account or your dry cleaner lets you know your shirts are ready.
The problem is that it isn’t exactly clear how business will communicate with the WhatsApp users. Is it in a form of a message or a push notification or will they send images and video in between the conversation? there is also fear that the ads will be content-aware. So if you are chatting with your friend about your Saturday night’s dinner plans, will you get a message from a restaurant offering you a coupon? If yes, you can only imagine what offers will pop-up during naughty/ sexy conversations…
Some Good News:
As not everyone is super-excited about this, there is good news. This update will be rolled out in the months ahead but in order for WhatsApp to share your information, they first need to update their policy giving them permission to do that. Permission that you have to agree to. So the good news is that don’t have to and can opt out.
How NOT to share your WhatsApp account information with Facebook:
There are two ways that you can opt out of sharing your WhatsApp account information with Facebook and still continue to use WhatsApp for free.
When you receive the new update, before you blindly agree to the terms and conditions, you will see an option that is checked. That is the permission to share your info. Simply ensure that is not checked before hitting the AGREE button.
If, like most people, you have already just hit the AGREE button, you can go into Settings, Account, Share my account info and uncheck that box there.
Note that this is a partial opt out. WhatsApp confirms that:
The Facebook family of companies will still receive and use this information for other purposes such as improving infrastructure and delivery systems, understanding how our services or theirs are used, securing systems, and fighting spam, abuse, or infringement activities.
So short of uninstalling WhatsApp completely, information is still shared.
[tweetthis]Here is how to opt out and NOT share your WhatsApp account information with Facebook[/tweetthis]
Screen shot credit: Images from the WhatsApp Blog