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Two years after it was bought by Facebook, WhatsApp will start sharing user data including phone numbers with Facebook

The Verge

When WhatsApp was bought by Facebook in 2014, users worried what the acquisition would mean for privacy on the platform. At the time, WhatsApp said the sale wouldn’t change anything: “We don’t know your birthday. We don’t know your home address. None of that data has ever been collected and stored by WhatsApp, and we really have no plans to change that,” WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum wrote at the time. Now it’s reversing that, as WhatsApp announced that it would share limited amounts of data with Facebook — including users’ phone numbers, which it says will allow Facebook to offer better friend suggestions by mapping a user’s connections between the two services.

+ But the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s Mark Rotenberg notes that many users signed up for WhatsApp and not Facebook precisely because of privacy concerns: “If the FTC does not bring an enforcement action, it means that even when users choose better privacy services, there is no guarantee their data will be protected” (New York Times)

+ Why messaging apps matter for publishers: 80 percent of Internet users worldwide use messaging apps, messaging app users tend to be loyal to the app, and messaging apps are a new platform for sharing (TheMediaBriefing)

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