WhatsApp was founded on the basis that it only provides simple messaging services with no such things as ads, gimmicks or even games. However, this was only in the then “little” minds of Jan Koum and Brian Acton, the co-founders of the now most popular IM in the world.
After the two agreed to a takeover by Facebook in 2014, a move that saw up to $20 billion exchange hands the two retain their roles in the startup, WhatsApp has taken a different direction with respect to communications. Even though the developers have been adamant that the takeover by Facebook will not interfere with the way the chat app works, this was inevitable, especially when looking at the amount of money spent.
WhatsApp commands a user base of more than 1.1 billion people, yet it generates zero income for Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. It has long been coming, though, and now it seems the tech mogul has finally found a way to make some money out of this chat app and recoup his multi-billion investment. However, in the wake of this move, users of the popular chat app might feel that their privacy, which has long been a promise that it won’t be interfered with, seems to be hanging on the loose.
In the planned move, WhatsApp will start sharing some of its data with Facebook, primarily your mobile phone number which the app is tied to. Business will, therefore, get access to this information via Facebook and in turn directly contact potential customers via the chat app. This is something that is already in tests when it comes to Facebook Messenger, a sister app to WhatsApp.
In a blog post, WhatsApp claimed that regardless of how shambolic the decision seems, the company will strive to bring you different ways in which you can stay in touch with the business that matters you most without giving you an experience that is filled with ads and spam. In this regard, Facebook will be able to use your WhatsApp phone number to better other services it offers, for instance, making new friends or even showing up relevant ads. The social media giant also says that this data-sharing plan will help ease the fight against spam texts.
To clear the air, the company also added that no messages will be accessible to any party since they will still be encrypted. Furthermore, no third party advertisers will have direct access to your phone number, but still, users have the option of not sharing their phone number with Facebook.