The in-app notifications hit screens last evening, notifying users that they have to 'agree' to the changes or lose access to WhatsApp after February 8, 2021 (when the changes come into effect).
Users can even visit the 'Help Center' to get more information or delete their account.
The key updates include:
a) Changes in how WhatsApp processes user data
b) How businesses can use Facebook-hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats
c) How WhatsApp partners with Facebook to offer integrations across 'Facebook Company Products'
WhatsApp has also updated its privacy policies on its website and shared details on how the changes work.
"WhatsApp must receive or collect some information to operate, provide, improve, understand, customise, support, and market our services, including when you install, access, or use our services. The types of information we receive and collect depend on how you use our services," the Facebook-owned platform stated.
When messages cannot be delivered immediately (for example, if the recipient is offline), WhatsApp keeps it in encrypted form in its servers for up to 30 days as it "tries to deliver it." If a message is still undelivered after 30 days, WhatsApp deletes it.
In a separate section on ‘Transactions And Payments Data,' WhatsApp noted,
"If you use our payments services, or use our Services meant for purchases or other financial transactions, we process additional information about you, including payment account and transaction information. Payment account and transaction information includes information needed to complete the transaction (for example, information about your payment method, shipping details, and transaction amount)."
WhatsApp also collects device and location information when a user logs in.
"We collect and use precise location information from your device with your permission when you choose to use location-related features, like when you decide to share your location with your contacts or view locations nearby or locations others have shared with you... Even if you do not use our location-related features, we use IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (city and country)."
WhatsApp also uses location information for diagnostics and troubleshooting purposes.