askST: What data on my WhatsApp will be shared with Facebook?

Reader, Sim Teck How, wanted to know what details of his account on WhatsApp will be shared with Facebook with the former's change in privacy policy. He wants to know if there is a way out.

Tech editor Irene Tham answered.

Popular messaging service WhatsApp on Thursday (Aug 25) updated its privacy policy for the first time in four years, giving it permission to start sharing data including mobile phone numbers with Facebook.

It claimed this is to allow Facebook to suggest more phone contacts as friends and display more relevant ads. WhatsApp promised "we won't post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won't sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers."

You can still opt out of such sharing within 30 days from Aug 25. Get moving if you object to the sharing.

Click on the "read more" option below the "agree" button on WhatsApp's new terms of service. Do not click on "agree" until you turn off the option that reads "Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook to improve my Facebook ads and product experiences..."

If you have already accepted the new terms without first turning off the sharing option, you can still change the settings. Tap on the app's settings menu, select "account" and turn off the option that reads "Share my account info". This will stop WhatsApp from sharing your data with Facebook.

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