Popular Messaging app WhatsApp has changed its terms on Thursday that will allow it to share more information about billions of its users with its parent company Facebook and to further roll out ads and e-commerce.
Users must accept the changes, or their access to the service will be cut off from Feb. 8.
The updated terms will allow additional sharing of information like contacts and profile data but not the contents of messages, between WhatsApp and Facebook and its other applications such as Messenger and Instagram.
“If the only way to refuse (the modification) is to stop using WhatsApp, then the consent is forced as the use of personal data is illegal,” said Arthur Messaud, a lawyer for La Quadrature du Net, an association that defends internet users.
The changes would not affect EU and UK-based users.
Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, and two years later, it gave users a one-time chance to opt-out of sharing app data with the social media giant.
Brian Acton and Jan Koum, the founders of WhatsApp, left the company in 2017 and 2018, both of whom vehemently opposed the decision to monetize the platform through ads. Koum even called for people to “delete Facebook.”
This move by WhatsApp prompted calls for users to delete their accounts and switch to encrypted messaging apps like Telegram and Signal.
Tesla CEO and un-official DOGE CEO, Elon Musk, who has become the richest person in the world, recommended users to switch services, tweeting “Use Signal,” hours after criticizing Facebook via a meme.
“We need Web 3.0 now more than ever. We're losing control of our own information, identity & destiny every day. A decentralized & fair internet made of distributed ledger technologies allows us to dismantle centralized tech giants & rightfully own our data,” said Jay Hao, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange OKEx.