WhatsApp Ready To Give Marketers Your Data; Promises ‘No Spam’

Two years after being acquired by Facebook, the messaging service WhatsApp said it will coordinate more with its parent company to make it easier for businesses to communicate with its users. However, WhatsApp said it's rolling out those changes in a way that doesn't expose users to third-party banner ads and spam.

WhatsApp revealed the coming changes in a blog post today centered around updating its terms and privacy policy for users. It said those updates are needed to begin testing messaging features from businesses over the next several months.

Some WhatsApp users had expressed concerns about Facebook's impact on their services after the acquisition was announced in early 2014. At that time, WhatsApp co-founder and CEO Jan Koum tried to alleviate those concerns. In a March 2014 blog post he noted that the new partnership with Facebook wouldn't change his company's fundamental belief in user privacy.

Option To Not Share Info with Facebook

"[B]y coordinating more with Facebook, we'll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp," the company said in today's blog post. "And by connecting your phone number with Facebook's systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them."

Now that the company is "part of the Facebook family," the two organizations will work together to improve their services, fight spam across apps, make product suggestions and show "relevant offers and ads," according to WhatsApp's updated user terms. Additionally, existing WhatsApp users can choose not to have their account information shared with Facebook if they accept the updated terms and privacy policy and then update their account settings.

"Nothing you share on WhatsApp, including your messages, photos, and account information, will be shared...

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