How we work with the Facebook Companies

This article has been archived. Please see up-to-date content in our Privacy Policy.
In this article, we are providing additional information to our users in the European Region.
What are the Facebook Companies?
WhatsApp is one of the Facebook Companies. The Facebook Companies include, among others, Facebook, Facebook Technologies, and WhatsApp, and together offer the Facebook Company Products.
Why does WhatsApp share information with the Facebook Companies?
WhatsApp works and shares information with the other Facebook Companies to receive services like infrastructure, technology, and systems that help us provide and improve WhatsApp and to keep WhatsApp and the other Facebook Companies safe and secure. When we receive services from the Facebook Companies, the information we share with them is used to help WhatsApp in accordance with our instructions. Working together allows us for example to:
  • Provide you fast and reliable messaging and calls around the world and understand how our Services and features are performing.
  • Ensure safety, security, and integrity across WhatsApp and the Facebook Company Products by removing spam accounts and combating abusive activity.
  • Connect your WhatsApp experience with Facebook Company Products.
Today, WhatsApp does not share your personal information with Facebook to improve your Facebook product experiences or provide you more relevant Facebook ad experiences on Facebook. We're always working on new ways to improve how you experience WhatsApp and the other Facebook Company Products you use. We'll keep you updated on new experiences we offer and our data practices.
What information does WhatsApp share with the Facebook Companies?
In order to receive services from the Facebook Companies, WhatsApp shares the information we have about you as described in the “Information We Collect” section of the Privacy Policy. For example, to provide WhatsApp with analytics services, Facebook processes the phone number you verified when you signed up for WhatsApp, some of your device information (your device identifiers associated with the same device or account, operating system version, app version, platform information, your mobile country code and network code, and flags to enable tracking of the update acceptance and control choices), and some of your usage information (when you last used WhatsApp and the date you first registered your account, and the types and frequency of your features usage) on WhatsApp’s behalf and in accordance with our instructions.
WhatsApp also shares information with other Facebook Companies when this is necessary for the purpose of promoting safety, security, and integrity across the Facebook Companies. This includes the sharing of information that enables Facebook and the other Facebook Companies to determine whether a certain WhatsApp user is also using other Facebook Company Products, and to assess whether the other Facebook Companies need to take action, either against such user or to protect them. For example, WhatsApp could share the information that is necessary to enable Facebook to also take action against an identified spammer on Facebook, such as information on the incident(s) as well as the phone number they verified when they signed up for WhatsApp or device identifiers associated with the same device or account. Any such transfer is carried out in accordance with the “Our Legal Basis For Processing Data” section of the Privacy Policy.
How is my WhatsApp information used by the Facebook Companies?
  • To receive services that will help WhatsApp operate, improve, and develop our business. When WhatsApp shares information with the Facebook Companies in these ways, the Facebook Companies act as service providers and the information we share with them is used to help WhatsApp in accordance with our instructions.
    • We share information with the other Facebook Companies as service providers. Service providers help companies like WhatsApp by providing infrastructure, technologies, systems, tools, information, and expertise to help us provide and improve the WhatsApp service for our users.
    • This enables us, for example, to understand how our Services are being used, and how it compares to usage across the Facebook Companies. By sharing information with the other Facebook Companies, such as the phone number you verified when you signed up for WhatsApp and the last time your account was used, we may be able to work out whether or not a particular WhatsApp account belongs to someone who also uses another service in the Facebook Companies. This allows us to more accurately report information about our Services and to improve our Services. So, for example, we can then understand how people use WhatsApp services compared to their use of other apps or services in the other Facebook Companies, which in turn helps WhatsApp to explore potential features or product improvements. We can also count how many unique users WhatsApp has, for example, by establishing which of our users do not use any other Facebook apps and how many unique users there are across the Facebook Companies. This will help WhatsApp more completely report the activity on our service, including to investors and regulators.
    • It also helps WhatsApp as we explore ways to build a sustainable business. For example, as we previously announced, we're exploring ways for people and businesses to communicate using WhatsApp, and this could include working with the other Facebook Companies to help people find businesses they're interested in and communicate with via WhatsApp. In this way, Facebook could enable users to communicate via WhatsApp with businesses they find on Facebook.
  • To keep WhatsApp and other Facebook family services safe and secure.
    • We share information with the other Facebook Companies in accordance with the “Our Legal Basis For Processing Data” section of the Privacy Policy, and vice versa, to help fight spam and abuse on our Services, help keep them secure, and promote safety, security, and integrity on and off our Services. So if, for example, any member of the Facebook Companies discovers that someone is using its services for illegal purposes, it can disable their account and notify the other Facebook Companies so that they can also consider doing the same. In this way, we only share information for this purpose in relation to users that have first been identified as having violated our Terms of Service or threatened the safety or security of our users or others, about which other members of our family of companies should be warned.
    • To keep WhatsApp and other Facebook Companies' services safe and secure, we need to understand which accounts across the Facebook Companies relate to the same user, so we can take appropriate action when we identify a user who violates our Terms of Services or presents a safety or security threat to others.
  • We do not share data for improving Facebook products on Facebook and providing more relevant Facebook ad experiences.
    • Today, WhatsApp does not share your personal information with Facebook to improve your Facebook product experiences or provide you more relevant Facebook ad experiences on Facebook. This is a result of discussions with the Irish Data Protection Commission and other Data Protection Authorities in Europe. We're always working on new ways to improve how you experience WhatsApp and the other Facebook Company Products you use. Should we choose to share such data with the Facebook Companies for this purpose in the future, we will only do so when we reach an understanding with the Irish Data Protection Commission on a future mechanism to enable such use. We'll keep you updated on new experiences we offer and our information practices.
Whose WhatsApp information is shared with the Facebook Companies for these purposes?
We share information for all WhatsApp users if they choose to use our Services. This may include those WhatsApp users who are not Facebook users because we need to have the ability to share information for all of our users, if necessary, in order to be able to receive valuable services from the Facebook Companies and fulfill the important purposes described in our Privacy Policy and this article.
In all cases, we share the minimum amount of information that is needed to fulfill these purposes. We also ensure that the information we share is up to date, so if you choose to update your WhatsApp phone number, for example, that number will also be updated by the members of the Facebook family who have received it from us.
Importantly, WhatsApp does not share your WhatsApp contacts with Facebook or any other members of the Facebook Companies for use for their own purposes, and there are no plans to do so.
What choices do I have about the Facebook Companies' use of my WhatsApp information?
You can always stop using our Services and delete your account through the in-app Delete My Account feature. Deleting your WhatsApp account will not affect your ability to continue using other apps and services offered by the other Facebook Companies, just as deleting your Facebook account, for example, will not affect your ability to continue using WhatsApp. Please see WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy for further information on what happens when you delete your WhatsApp account.
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