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Sharing data with Facebook is not new, however. Since 2016 (opens in new tab) WhatsApp had been allowing cross-communication with Facebook, but gave users the option to opt out. It came at odds with a statement the WhatsApp made in 2014 after the acquisition (opens in new tab) by Facebook in which it made a commitment to user privacy (opens in new tab)
The opt-out feature is no longer available for WhatsApp users outside the European Union, and it is not clear when it was removed.
Facebook contends (opens in new tab) that it will continue to maintain privacy protections in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) across all of its products.
Rather importantly, since WhatsApp is encrypted by default, Facebook won't be able to see the contents of your messages. That said, information on who you message, and how often you do it, is fair game.
But Facebook collects all this information to help adjust how its services are run. According to the company, that includes making improvements to its infrastructure and delivery systems, understanding how people actually use its services, fighting crime and spam, as well as improving the user experience.
That last one is key, as Facebook's idea of "improving the user experience" means personalization. In other words, the goal is to use algorithms to alter your experience with Facebook and point you towards things that will keep you there for longer.
On a more positive note, data sharing does let you connect and use other Facebook services with your WhatsApp account. Services like Facebook Pay, or the Facebook Portal smart display.
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