When WhatsApp announced it was joining the Facebook Family, the company made it clear everything would carry on as usual. “WhatsApp will remain autonomous and operate independently,” the company said. “There would have been no partnership between our two companies if we had to compromise on the core principles that will always define our company, our vision and our product.”
That was important because WhatsApp’s foundation is secure, encrypted, private chats across all platforms. Anything that pushes against that, like sharing information with another company, poses a risk to maintaining that privacy and security.
The Nothing Promise
When WhatsApp announced it was being bought by Facebook, the developers said they would operate as an independent company and addressed user concerns by saying, “Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing.”
Channeling my best inner Bryan Chaffin (mostly pedantic), I have to point out WhatsApp isn’t selling any information. Instead, it’s sharing some user account info and analytics with its parent company. That’s not the same thing, although it isn’t much of a consolation.
Facebook will get user’s phone numbers and some analytic data. User’s chats are end-to-end encrypted, so their content is known only to the participants. That’s good news, but considering the overall changes, isn’t doing much to foster a sense of trust in WhatsApp.
Next up: WhatsApp’s advertising opt out