And the inevitable just happened. WhatsApp has officially announced it will start sharing phone numbers of its users with Facebook.
The changes in the terms make it possible for the world’s most popular messaging app to track user behavior, in addition to accessing device information and other smartphone characteristics.
Facebook, which is the parent company of WhatsApp, will use the data to recommend friends for users and show targeted advertising.
By connecting phone number with Facebook’s systems, the company said it “can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads”.
“For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of. You can learn more, including how to control the use of your data, here,” the official blog post said.
It also assured users that its “belief in the value of private communications is unshakeable”.
WhatsApp is giving users a limited time to opt out of sharing their information with Facebook. Users have up to 30 days to accept the new terms or stop using the service.
Since announcing its acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014, Facebook has been looking for ways to monetize and improve its offerings to businesses. When it announced its decision to do away with the annual $1 subscription fee, skeptics anticipated advertising and alternative forms of monetization in the cards. Well, this could lead to some breakthroughs.