The company updated its privacy policy for the first time in four years.

By Talia Avakian
August 25, 2016
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As part of its updated privacy policy, popular messaging service WhatsApp will start sharing its users’ phone numbers with its parent company Facebook.

The shift could mean more targeted ads from Facebook, in addition to “offering better friend suggestions by mapping users’ social connections across the two services,” according to the Verge.

This is the first time in four years that the company has updated its privacy policy.

Users have up to 30 days to accept their updated Terms and Privacy Policy, and an additional 30 days to opt out of having account information shared with Facebook.

In their updated privacy policy, the company wrote:

“Once you have accepted our updated Terms and Privacy Policy, we will share some of your account information with Facebook and the Facebook family of companies, like the phone number you verified when you registered with WhatsApp, as well as the last time you used our service.”

WhatsApp also went on to ensure that third-party ads will not be appearing on their app and that the information shared with Facebook will not be visible to other users on the social network.

“We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers,” the company wrote regarding the updated policy.

Existing users who wish to opt out of the new update can do so in two ways once the update rolls out:

  • Tap “Read” before hitting “Agree” to the company’s updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and uncheck the box at the bottom of the screen that states “Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook to improve my Facebook ads and product experiences.”
  • If you initially agree to the updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, you can go into your settings and into the account section to uncheck the box for sharing account information with Facebook.

Talia Avakian is a digital reporter at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @TaliaAvak.