January 12, 2021

The WhatsApp Privacy Controversy

WhatsApp

At the beginning of this week, WhatsApp updated their privacy policy, and it sparked a lot of controversy and outrage. Many people (including some high-profile users like Elon Musk) are dropping the app because of it.

Why? Here in the US, WhatsApp’s new policy gives them the right to share user data with their parent company Facebook. Facebook says their goal is to integrate WhatsApp more into their network of apps, sharing contacts as well as monetization. For example, you would be able to buy products from Instagram through WhatsApp. This integration has been available for a lot of Facebook products for years, however, starting Feb 8th, it’s mandatory on WhatsApp.

Why does Facebook want to do this?

Why does Facebook want to do this? Well, most of Facebook’s $21.5 BILLION in revenue comes from ads. WhatsApp doesn’t have ads and right now, it’s not contributing any data to help Facebook target on other platforms.

Most of Facebook’s $21.5 BILLION in revenue comes from ads. WhatsApp doesn’t have ads and it’s not contributing any data to help Facebook target on other platforms.

What data does Facebook want? They want your contacts list, location, financial information and usage data, as well as your phone’s unique identifier (IFID or GAID,) and other metadata, all of which can be linked to your actual identity. And shared with advertisers. Your actual messages will still be heavily encrypted.

WhatsApp wants your…

  • Contacts List
  • Location
  • Financial Information
  • Usage Data
  • Phone’s Unique Identifier (IFID or GAID)
  • Other Metadata

Basically, this is Facebook’s first move towards working around a cookie-less world. For us advertisers, it’s interesting to see the direction and steps the big companies are taking and it helps us to prepare as well.

What do you think? Do the benefits of shared data out way the privacy costs?

About Skyler Schreck

Skyler is a Marketing Assistant at First Direct. Prior to First Direct, she worked as a freelance graphic designer. Content creator by day and content consumer by night, Skyler's hobbies include reading, snacking, and binge-watching all available shows.