How To Stop WhatsApp From Sharing Your Phone Number With Facebook
For those of us who travel abroad (or who have friends and family who do), WhatsApp is a lifesaver—gone are the days of purchasing a burner flip phone in a foreign country to keep in touch with our loved ones. Back in 2014 Facebook purchased WhatsApp, with one of the provisions being that WhatsApp and Facebook wouldn't share personal info. But WhatsApp recently announced in a blog post that it will begin sharing some of your personal info, such as your phone number, with Facebook. If you don’t want WhatsApp sharing your phone number with Facebook, don’t fret: there’s still time for you to stop it.
But before we get into that, first a few important things about what WhatsApp's updated user agreement actually does, and what it doesn’t do. In the blog post, WhatsApp notes that they’re rolling out what’s called end-to-end encryption, which means that when you send a message, only you and the recipient can read it. Nobody else will read your messages—not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nobody. Also, WhatsApp won’t post your number or messages to Facebook, nor will they sell your phone number to advertisers.
So what will sharing your number with Facebook do? Basically, offer you better friend suggestions and more relevant ads and fight spam. But if that’s not really your thing, you can decline to share your number with Facebook (for now). According to Motherboard, there are two ways to opt out of this feature. They’re actually pretty simple and don’t involve any kind of phone voodoo.
1. Don’t “agree” to the terms of service right away
We all do it—hit that little check box next to the “I have read and agree to the terms and conditions” disclaimer. Do any of us ever actually read the terms and conditions? No. But on WhatsApp, if you don’t automatically agree to the terms and actually read them, you’ll find that there’s a check box in the details that reads “Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook.” Uncheck that box, then agree to the terms, then you should be good to go.
2. Opt out
If you didn’t read the terms and just blindly accepted, it’s not too late—you can still opt out. Go to your settings menu and hit the account tab. There, there should be a box that says “Share my account info.” Uncheck that, and voilà! No sharing your number with Facebook.
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