The Facebook-owned WhatsApp made waves recently be announcing that they’d be dropping their annual $1 subscription. What’s more is that the company wouldn’t even use ads to try and continue to make money on the service. We had to pinch ourselves: a company that doesn’t want to make money?
Fast forward to today, and something troubling has turned up. Evidence in the latest WhatsApp update suggests the app will soon share your user data with Facebook, or that it may already be sharing it. We’re not exactly sure what the data will be used for aside from a quick note that it’s used to improve your Facebook experience.
It seems like an opt-in option that won’t be a requirement of using WhatsApp, and the app even warns you that you won’t be able to reenable the option if you disable it. But we wouldn’t blame you if a few questions stormed to the front of your mind:
- What information will WhatsApp share exactly?
- Why are they sharing it?
- Is this a play to give Facebook the data they need to make ads more relevant, which in turn should help them make more money?
- Should I consider leaving WhatsApp?
Unfortunately we can’t answer many of those questions right now. In fact, the lone bit of evidence that points to WhatsApp’s plans is only accessible after using a terminal command:
> am start -n com.whatsapp/com.whatsapp.TosUpdateDetailsActivity
Whether the company even has plans to fully implement anything is in the air, as the UI element could be a relic of previous plans which may or may not have been shelved. Then again, it could be just as likely that the code is there to faciliate a future plan. Hell, perhaps it’s already working and they’re just hiding this option to prevent you from being able to do anything about it. Either way, we’re dropping a line into both WhatsApp and Facebook to try and get to the bottom of it.