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WhatsApp privacy: Everything you need to know

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As WhatsApp users leave the platform in droves ahead of the February 8 deadline to accept its new rules, the tech giant has issued a statement. Perhaps in response to the major exodus of users – which number about 2 billion globally – the platform clarified what they will and won’t share with Facebook.

In a new blog post the company said, “With some of the rumors going around, we want to answer some of the common questions we have received. We go to great lengths to build WhatsApp in a way that helps people communicate privately.” The post adds that the policy “does not affect the privacy of your messages with friends or family in any way.”

These are the rumours WhatsApp addresses in its post:

Q: Will WhatsApp and Facebook be able to see private messages or hear calls?

A: Neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can read your messages or hear your calls with your friends, family, and co-workers on WhatsApp. Whatever you share, it stays between you. That’s because your personal messages are protected by end-to-end encryption. We will never weaken this security and we clearly label each chat so you know our commitment.

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Q: Does it keep logs of communication?

A: While traditionally mobile carriers and operators store this information, we believe that keeping these records for two billion users would be both a privacy and security risk and we don’t do it.

Q: Is my location compromised?

A: When you share your location with someone on WhatsApp, your location is protected by end-to-end encryption, which means no one can see your location except the people you share it with.

Q: Does WhatsApp share contacts with Facebook?

A: We don’t share your contacts with Facebook: When you give us permission, we access only the phone numbers from your address book to make messaging fast and reliable, and we don’t share your contacts lists with the other apps Facebook offers.

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Q: Are groups private?

A: Groups remain private: We use group membership to deliver messages and to protect our service from spam and abuse. We don’t share this data with Facebook for ads purposes. Again, these private chats are end-to-end encrypted so we can’t see their content.

Q: Can I still get messages to disappear?

A: Yes, actually. For additional privacy, you can choose to set your messages to disappear from chats after you send them.

Q: Is there a way to find out what information WhatsApp does have on me?

A: You can download your data: You can download and see what information we have on your account right from within the app.

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Gulf News

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