In the days that followed, events rolled over: data protectionists sounded the alarm and feared that Facebook and WhatsApp would exchange data without restriction in the future, even for marketing purposes. Prominent figures such as Elon Musk called for people to switch to the competitor Signal, which is more concerned with data protection. The ensuing onslaught initially caused signal servers to become overloaded and then a record increase of over 50 million users.
Since then, Facebook has been trying to capture users who are willing to emigrate: The original deadline for agreeing to the terms and conditions was postponed from February 8 to May 15, while the group started an awareness campaign. A WhatsApp manager spoke of “misinformation” on Twitter – creating even more confusion. What is really in store for the users?
Is WhatsApp really sharing more data with Facebook now?
As part of the Facebook companies, WhatsApp receives information from other Facebook companies and also shares information with other Facebook companies to promote the safety and integrity of all Facebook company products;
In Europe, however, this paragraph is provided with a further note:
None of the information that WhatsApp passes on on this basis may be used for the Facebook companies’ own purposes.
Specifically, this means: Facebook actually receives data from WhatsApp and is also allowed to work with it. For example, the user’s cell phone model, the cell phone provider, the telephone number or contacts from the phone book are saved. Due to an EU directive, Facebook is not allowed to use this information for targeted display of advertising. According to WhatsApp and Facebook, users’ chats are encrypted and the content can neither be read nor saved by either company.
This guideline has been around for a long time and WhatsApp emphasized in the “Spiegel” that the new terms and conditions will not result in any extended data exchange with Facebook. For German users, nothing will change in this regard.
What exactly will change in Germany with the new terms and conditions?
Nevertheless, there are some small changes for German users with the new guidelines.
WhatsApp has been offering companies the ability to contact customers via WhatsApp users for some time. Users who want to travel can get information about the flight from the airline via WhatsApp. The delivery status of some online retailers can also be obtained via WhatsApp. This service should now offer companies better technical possibilities.
In addition, the new WhatsApp terms and conditions are now more detailed and should give users a better overview. You can read the exact wording of the changes here.
What happens if I do not agree to the WhatsApp terms and conditions?
WhatsApp announced in a blog entry on Monday that it would not delete users’ accounts even if they did not agree by May 15. The service is then no longer available to the usual extent, according to WhatsApp, messages can no longer be read and received “after a short time”. The app becomes largely useless and WhatsApp advises users to save chat history beforehand if they do not want to agree.