In this FAQ, we are providing additional information to our users in the European Region.
WhatsApp is one of 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 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 to:
Provide you fast and reliable messaging and calls around the world and understand how our Services and features are performing.
Ensure safety and security across WhatsApp and the Facebook Company Products by removing spam accounts and combatting abusive activity.
Connect your WhatsApp experience with Facebook Company Products. For example, you could share a link to a post from Facebook to a WhatsApp chat.
Enable you to communicate with businesses on WhatsApp. For example, if you visit a business's Facebook page, you might see a button that lets you easily open a WhatsApp chat with them.
Nothing you share on WhatsApp, including your messages, photos, and account information, will be shared onto Facebook or any of our other family of apps for others to see, and nothing you post on those apps will be shared on WhatsApp for others to see, unless you choose to do so.
Today, Facebook does not use your WhatsApp account information 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.
WhatsApp currently shares limited categories of information with the Facebook Companies. This consists of the phone number you verified when you signed up for WhatsApp, some of your device information (your device identifier, 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). In all cases, the information is shared securely and is not shared outside the Facebook Companies. The shared information will also not be seen by other users of any of the other Facebook Company Products.
To receive services that will help WhatsApp improve and develop our business.
We share information with the Facebook Companies (and trusted third parties) 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 analyze and understand how our Services are being used, and how it compares to usage across the Facebook Companies. By sharing information with the 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 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 announced in 2016, we're exploring ways for people and businesses to communicate using WhatsApp, and this could include working with the 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.
When WhatsApp shares information with them in these ways, the Facebook Companies act as service providers, in order to help WhatsApp and our family of companies. When we receive services from the Facebook Companies, the information we share with them is used to help WhatsApp in accordance with our instructions
To keep WhatsApp and other Facebook family services safe and secure.
We share information with the Facebook Companies, and vice versa, to help fight spam and abuse on our Services, help keep them secure, and promote safety and security 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, 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.
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, and there are no plans to do so. WhatsApp also does not share your messages with Facebook. In addition, WhatsApp cannot read your messages because they are end-to-end encrypted by default when you and the people you message with use the latest version of our app. Only the people you message with can read your messages – not WhatsApp, Facebook, or anyone else.
You can always stop using our Services and delete your account through the in-app Delete My Account feature. WhatsApp will delete your information, and your information shared with Facebook and other members of the Facebook Companies will also be deleted. Deleting your WhatsApp account will not affect your ability to continue using other apps and services offered by the Facebook Companies, just as deleting your Facebook account, for example, will not affect your ability to continue using WhatsApp.
Today, Facebook does not use your WhatsApp account information 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 information practices. Though not relevant today because Facebook does not currently use your WhatsApp account information in these ways:
If you were already a WhatsApp user at the time of the update in August 2016, you could use an in-app control to prevent Facebook from using your information to improve your Facebook products and provide you with more relevant Facebook ad experiences on Facebook. Existing users were given 30 days to make this decision from when they first logged into their account after the August 2016 update. Even if you made this choice, Facebook and other members of the Facebook Companies still receive your information for other purposes described above.
Again, you can always stop using our Services and delete your account through the in-app Delete My Account feature.