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WhatsApp says it can’t see your shared location; its privacy policy says otherwise

By Prakhar Khanna January 12, 2021, 7:36 am

WhatsApp has been under pressure recently. This is because it updated its privacy policy and terms of service to allow “better integration with other Facebook products and services.” Essentially, your WhatsApp data will now be shared with Facebook and its subsidiaries. Plus, there is no option but to agree to the new changes. Hence, there has been a lot of talk on social media stating what and what doesn’t WhatsApp share with Facebook.

To clear the rumors, WhatsApp decided to post an infographic in its FAQ section with new responses highlighting how it will continue to protect private messages, despite some rumors stating otherwise. It states that the policy update doesn’t affect the “privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way. Instead, this update includes changes related to messaging a business on WhatsApp, which is optional, and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data.” The infographic says that WhatsApp cannot see private messages or hear calls and, therefore, neither can Facebook.

Via: WhatsApp

All is fine until you see the location part where the company states, “WhatsApp cannot see your shared location and neither can Facebook.” This is a bit misleading since it says something else in the privacy policy. In the ‘Automatically Collected Information’ section of its new policy, the company notes:

“Location Information. We collect and use precise location information from your device with your permission when you choose to use location-related features, like when you decide to share your location with your contacts or view locations nearby or locations others have shared with you. There are certain settings relating to location-related information which you can find in your device settings or the in-app settings, such as location sharing. Even if you do not use our location-related features, we use IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (e.g., city and country). We also use your location information for diagnostics and troubleshooting purposes.”

The vague wording in the privacy policy notes that WhatsApp gives you the “choice” to turn off location access and not use any location-related features. However, it goes on to say that the platform still collects information such as your IP address and phone number area code.

What about sharing the location with Facebook?

As for sharing this information with Facebook, the privacy policy further states, “We work with third-party service providers and other Facebook Companies to help us operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services.” Hence, WhatsApp clearly states that it is sharing your location information with third-parties as well as other Facebook companies.

Via: XDA-Developers


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