WhatsApp is sharing your data: Here's how to stop it

Last month, the popular messaging application WhatsApp announced that it was changing its terms and conditions and its privacy policy. In a blog post, the company explained that users would be notified about the updated terms and they would be asked to click “Agree” to accept them. Under the new terms, WhatsApp will be able to provide user data, such as phone numbers and login times, to its parent company Facebook. The social media giant bought the message app for US$19 billion in 2014.

WhatsApp explained in the blog post that they are trying to coordinate with Facebook more, so that users will have a better experience on the social network.

“By connecting your phone number with Facebook's systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them,” the post said.

Understandably, many users have been concerned about their privacy with the introduction of these new terms and conditions. In a ruling on Tuesday, German data protection authorities, citing digital privacy concerns, have even ordered Facebook to stop collecting data from its German WhatsApp users. Facebook must also delete all of the information it has already stored according to the German regulator.

WhatsApp clarified that private messages, photos and videos sent between users would not be shared with Facebook or third parties because of the end-to-end encryption the company introduced for all of its communications in November 2014.

The app’s notification with the policy update reads:

“Are you sure you don’t want to use your WhatsApp account information to improve your Facebook ads and products experiences? If you tap “Don’t Share”, you won’t be able to change this in the future.”

Users are then given the option of either tapping “Cancel” or “Don’t Share”. By clicking “Cancel”, the default option, WhatsApp is given permission to share your data with its parent company.

How to opt out:

If you didn’t receive the notification or clicked the default “Cancel” option without closely reading the message, don’t fear. You can easily adjust your settings to stop sharing your information with Facebook via WhatsApp by following these simple steps.

1. Open WhatsApp

2. Go to “Settings”

3. Click “Account”

4. Where it says “Share my account info” tap “Don’t share” or move the slider so it’s no longer green if you’re using an iPhone.

5. Ta-da! You’re finished and you’re information will no longer be collected and shared.