Facebook’s new threat to WhatsApp users

The tech giant caved after a widespread backlash but it’s still quietly working on a plan to get what it wants.

Social media and advertising giant Facebook has issued another ultimatum to WhatsApp users who don’t want to give the tech titan their data.

Earlier this year, Facebook began informing WhatsApp users the app would soon share their information and data with the social media giant whether they want it to or not, a policy they would have to accept in order to keep using the app past February 8.

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Facebook caved on that deadline following a widespread backlash but it hasn’t given up on its never-ending quest for data.

Users now have until May 15 to accept the policies.

In an email sent to one of its merchant partners seen by TechCrunch, the Facebook-owned messaging platform said it would “slowly ask” people accept the policy to “have full functionality of WhatsApp”.

If you don’t agree before that date you’ll be able to continue receiving “calls and notifications” for “a short time”.

You won’t be able to read or send messages.

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Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch the email “accurately characterises” the company’s plan.

Under its inactive user policy, WhatsApp generally deletes accounts after 120 days of inactivity.

End-to-end encryption was added to WhatsApp after Facebook acquired it in 2014 for $US19 billion ($A24.46 billion), making it attractive to privacy-minded users.

Since 2016, WhatsApp has had “permission” to share metadata like phone numbers and device info with Facebook.

The new change adds more data, this time on payments and transactions.

WhatsApp is pushing into e-commerce like the rest of Facebook’s platforms have done previously, and it wants the data for the same reason it wants all other data – targeted advertising.

Users aren’t happy and many are saying they’re abandoning the Facebook-owned platform.

Elon Musk told his tens of millions of followers to “Use Signal” upon learning of the forthcoming update to WhatsApp.

Signal offers the same sort of encrypted messaging and recently added encrypted voice and video calls too.

Mr Musk’s tweet caused the stock of an unrelated company to surge far beyond what the company was worth and also sent so many new users to Signal the company struggled to keep up.

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