Nearly two and a half years after Facebook acquired WhatsApp, and despite Whatsapp CEO Jan Koum saying at the time of the acquisition that user privacy wouldn’t suffer, the services are about to get a little bit friendlier with their data sharing.
- More accurately count unique users
- Better fight spam and abuse
- Show better friend suggestions and more relevant ads to you on Facebook.
The messaging app explained the reasons for the changes in a blog post. It begins by highlighting its plans to test ways for people to communicate with businesses:
Whether it’s hearing from your bank about a potentially fraudulent transaction, or getting notified by an airline about a delayed flight, many of us get this information elsewhere, including in text messages and phone calls. We want to test these features in the next several months.
It also makes some stark promises in the blog post that it won’t…
…post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers.
Note the ‘on Facebook’ and not ‘Facebook’ itself.
Facebook won’t, however, be able to see any of your messages, photos or account information.
How to opt out
You can choose not to share your account information with Facebook for targeting purposes. There are two ways to do this:
1. On WhatsApp, don’t click Agree when it asks you to confirm you are happy with the change of terms. Instead, click to read more. You should then see a check box or control button at the bottom of the screen which says “Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook to improve my Facebook ads and product experiences…”. Uncheck this.
2. If you have already agreed to the updated terms, you can go to to Settings > Account > Share my account info in the app. Then uncheck the box or toggle the control. But quick, WhatsApp says you only have 30 days to make this choice after agreeing to the new terms.
Sadly, it’s not a silver bullet
Even if you opt out of the ad targeting part, WhatsApp says that Facebook will still be sent your data “for other purposes such as improving infrastructure and delivery systems, understanding how our services or theirs are used, securing systems, and fighting spam, abuse, or infringement activities.”
So it seems you can’t entirely opt out. Unless you stop using WhatsApp of course.
Image of WhatsApp and Facebook courtesy of quka / Shutterstock.com.
13 comments on “How to opt out of WhatsApp sharing your phone number with Facebook”
These options are not available on the iOS version.
Yes they are available on iOS. Make sure you forcibly close WhatsApp by double clicking your fingerprint sensor and swiping up to close WhatsApp.
Then, reload WhatsApp and follow the instructions in the article. But make sure you’re using the most recent version of WhatsApp!
Yes they are, I just opted out and I have iOS 9
It looks different on iOS, but it’s available. I did it this morning.
How will the information be shared? How is whatsapp going to know my Facebook profile?
Many thanks for this tip, I’ve just done the deed. I would think it’s impossible to stay out of Facebook’s clutches forever, but I do my best. I can’t understand how a company can invade the privacy of every mortal on the planet with an internet connection and just get away with it, it makes assorted governments attempts to spy on us look pathetic. I can’t believe this is driven by greed, these people have more cash than they could spend in a hundred lifetimes, so what is it? A desire for world dominance? A craving to manipulate every single person on the planet? Or is it so easy they can’t stop themselves. Wait until the next giant meteorite hits the earth and wipes out the power infrastructures – then we’ll see who has the power.
Bob wrote “I can’t understand how a company can invade the privacy of every mortal on the planet with an internet connection…”
How can you say that? Many of us have the spine to simply pass on Facebook. It’s not a condition of employment. You won’t lose your Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or other government support if you simply never get an account. I sleep well at night knowing I haven’t given my privacy away to Facebook. How about you?
They are not available on iOS. tore through all the settings.
If you claim to be able to opt out on iOS please share where this option is on your phone.
Share my account information not available on my iPhone or my daughters but is on my son’s iPhone. Strange
I don’t have such a option in my android phone in the account settings..
What if you’ve used the app in the past, but deleted it from your phone? Presumably your profile data is still on WhatsApp servers to be shared? Whats the best way out in that case?
That was my situation. I wanted to specifically opt-out , so I re-installed the app, signed up with and SMS code just like the first time. There was an agreement, so I read down it all, it was just a standard Terms and Conditions and I read to the bottom. There was no checkmark to opt-out of Facebook data sharing. So then I went into account settings, and still there is no opt-out option there either. So now I’ve written to the support email address once per day for 5 days, and there has been no useful reply other than a standard form letter to check the FAQ. I don’t even think they are listening, or care.
At this point I’m thinking I will open up a free account number at Twilio and then use the “change my number” option on Whatsapp to change my phone number to a Twilio number.
When opt-ing out it also says that the phone number _will not_ be shared, regardless of the setting.
However, unchecked it is! Thanks 🙂