How to stop Whatsapp from sharing your contacts with Facebook

PETALING JAYA: Earlier this week, mobile messaging service WhatsApp announced that it would start sharing its users’ phone numbers with parent company Facebook Inc.

However, it is likely that many users were not even aware of this significant change when they clicked on “agree” after the Whatsapp prompted them about changes to its service agreement.

So what about those who do not wish to share their personal data? How does a user opt out of sharing their contact data with Facebook?

There are two ways to go about it.

For those who have just received the prompt, click on “read more” instead of “agree”. Then, you can uncheck the box labelled “Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook”.

If you have already agreed to the new terms, you have thirty days from the day you agreed to reverse this.

To do this, launch WhatsApp, navigate to the “Settings” menu, click on “Account” and then uncheck the box labelled “Share my account info”.

This marks a notable shift in WhatsApp’s stance on privacy, as after its acquisition by Facebook in 2014, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum vowed to protect the data of its users, saying the deal would not affect its privacy policy.

In a post on its official blog on Thursday, WhatsApp said that the changes would allow Facebook to “offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads”.

It also reassured users by saying that it would not sell, share, or give users’ phone numbers to advertisers.

However, for those who are uncomfortable with sharing their information with the social media giant, the ability to opt out will provide some peace of mind.