WhatsApp Makes Changes In Its Privacy Stance

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Popular messaging service WhatsApp said it would start sharing users’ phone numbers with parent Facebook Inc, marking a prominent shift in its stance on privacy. When Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, founder Jan Koum vowed to protect data of its users, saying the deal would not affect its privacy policy. The change in policy, WhatsApp’s first since the deal, will permit for more relevant advertisements and friend recommendations on Facebook, according to a WhatsApp blog post.

WhatsApp, however, sought to assure users by saying that it would not sell, share, or give users’ phone numbers to advertisers. The company also maintained that messages on the service were encrypted by default and that it would not permit banner advertisements from third parties. “Our belief in the value of private communications is unshakeable,” WhatsApp said in the post. Koum had outlined his approach to privacy in a blog post after the deal with Facebook, drawing on his own experiences of growing up in Ukraine during the Soviet era.