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    November 8, 2016

    Facebook agrees to stop using WhatsApp user data in the UK

    facebook stop using WhatsApp data

    Facebook has agreed to suspend using data from WhatsApp users located in the United Kingdom for advertisements or product improvement purposes.

    In a landmark decision, Facebook has agreed to abandon using data gleaned from WhatsApp users for advertising or product improvement purposes in the United Kingdom, the Information Commissioner‘s Office has reported.

    Both companies came under fire earlier this year when it emerged that Facebook has issued a wide structural change to WhatsApp’s terms of service. In it, the social media company stipulated that users – should they accept the terms – may have their personal data harvested in order to provide a better product experience on Facebook itself.

    Read: WhatsApp reportedly begins testing new Snapchat Stories-style feature, called Status

    The changes might result, for example, in friend suggestions or – at a later stage – could be used to deliver targeted ads on Facebook’s platforms such as its core site as well as Instagram and Messenger.

    If you want to opt out of that arrangement, you can follow our easy guide to prevent WhatsApp sharing your personal data.

    The stipulation caused an uproar amongst online communities, as it was seen to violate WhatsApp’s original mission statement in which the platform stipulated that it would never allow advertisements on its platform. Indeed, an analysis of WhatsApp’s source code reveals that bots – as found on Facebook Messenger – could one day come to the platform for advertising purposes.

    Facebook has hence agreed to cease harvesting the data of WhatsApp users based in the United Kingdom. The decision may come as preface to a wider legal battle the social media giant may face in Europe, as both Facebook and WhatsApp have, according to Reuters, come under scrutiny from the European Union’s 28 data protection authorities, who have requested that WhatsApp pauses sharing its users’ data.

    Read: WhatsApp prepares to unveil Video Calling on Android, now in beta

    What are your thoughts? Would you prefer WhatsApp to cease sharing your data altogether? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!

    Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA

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