How to lock down your WhatsApp privacy

For those of us who travel abroad (or have friends and family who do), WhatsApp is a lifesaver - gone are the days of buying disposable flip phones abroad to stay in touch with loved ones. Back in 2014, Facebook acquired WhatsApp, and one of the stipulations was that WhatsApp and Facebook would not share personal information. But WhatsApp recently announced in a blog post that it will start sharing some of your personal information, such as your phone number, with Facebook. If you don't want WhatsApp to share your phone number with Facebook, don't worry: You still have time to stop it.

But before we get started, there are some important things to understand first, namely what WhatsApp’s updated user agreement actually does and doesn’t do. WhatsApp noted in a blog post that they are rolling out what they call end-to-end encryption, which means when you send a message, only you and the recipient can read it. No one else will read your messages – not WhatsApp, not Facebook, no one. Additionally, WhatsApp will not post your phone number or messages to Facebook, nor will it sell your phone number to advertisers.

So what does sharing your phone number with Facebook do? Basically, giving you better friend suggestions and more relevant ads and fighting spam. But if this isn't really your thing, you can refuse to share your phone number with Facebook (for now). According to Motherboard , there are two ways to opt out of this feature. They're actually pretty simple and don't involve any kind of phone voodoo.

1. Don’t “agree” to the terms of service immediately

We all do it – click the little checkbox next to the “I have read and agree to the terms and conditions” disclaimer. Do any of us actually read these terms and conditions? Won't. But on WhatsApp, if you don't automatically agree to the terms and actually read them, you will find a checkbox in the details that says "Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook". Uncheck the box and agree to the terms, and you're good to go.

2. Opt out

If you didn’t read the terms and just blindly accepted them, it’s not too late — you can still opt out. Go to your settings menu and click on the Accounts tab. There should be a box there that says "Share my account information." Uncheck it and voila! Don't share your phone number with Facebook.

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