Whatsapp and Facebook
January 8, 2021 4:01 AM   Subscribe

My husband is on WhatsApp but not on Facebook. (He shares pictures of our kids with the grandparents.) I use both extensively. He would like to know what possible problems could arise for him now that Facebook will have access to his Whatsapp data. "But what could they do with my data?"
posted by Omnomnom to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The most immediate issue (beyond the usual privacy problems of Facebook having access to all that information) is that people he talks to in Whatsapp could get him as a friend suggestion in Facebook.
posted by simmering octagon at 6:19 AM on January 8, 2021

According to the terms and conditions he'll be exposing everyone in his whatsapp device contact list, to Facebook, - whether they like it or not.

Facebook already makes 'ghost' profiles for people which you cannot delete. So that is something to think about.
posted by Faintdreams at 6:37 AM on January 8, 2021

I am in the same boat as Omnomnom's husband. I have not given WhatsApp access to my contact list. Refuse it every time I am asked. I was invited to one group conversation via a link. If Omnomnom's husband does not give WhatsApp access to their contacts, does not give their own primary phone number, is not on FB, the conversations are encrypted end to end, what other data could FB be misusing?
posted by AugustWest at 11:34 AM on January 8, 2021

Facebook will get connection and usage data. This will give them location data, sleep patterns, social network graphs, etc.
posted by Mitheral at 11:40 AM on January 8, 2021

Response by poster: But what could they do with this data?
posted by Omnomnom at 12:46 PM on January 8, 2021

Immediate term it'll be used to target advertising. Long term you get the fall out of privacy invasions and monitoring like Cambridge Analytica.

PS: there are options. Unlike facebook itself the network effects of WhatApp are less of an issue. Signal for example has all the functionality of WhatApp with none of the lo-jacking drawbacks. They are being hammered at the moment from people switching over because of the FB announcement but I think they have their authentication bottle neck resolved now.
posted by Mitheral at 1:50 PM on January 8, 2021

They will get all his contact data. If he ever goes to a therapist and saves their phone number on his phone? Facebook will know he uses that therapist (because they'll have the business's phone number and connect the contact data to the business). If he ever has an embarrassing personal health issue? If he saves the number of a clinic or specialist, Facebook will know. At some point this data will no doubt get leaked or sold.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:03 PM on January 8, 2021

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