Hugely popular messaging app WhatsApp announced today that it will be sharing your data with parent company Facebook, but before your gasp in disbelief there are some things that you should know.

First off, you have the ability to opt out of the information sharing (which we will show you how to do). Secondly, the previously-rumoured update to its Terms of Service is actually serving as a test-bed for “ways for people to communicate with businesses in the months ahead.”

In a blog post, WhatsApp gave a bit more detail.

“We want to explore ways for you to communicate with businesses that matter to you too, while still giving you an experience without third-party banner ads and spam. We want to test these features in the next several months, but need to update our terms and privacy policy to do so,” it said.

In order to continue using WhatsApp, you have to accept the new Terms of Service – but you can opt out of the Facebook sharing through one of two ways – here is how:

WhatsApp option 1

WhatsApp explains that before you tap the ‘Agree’ button to accept the updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, you need to hit the ‘Read’ option. Side note: it is always a good idea to cast a quick glance at new Terms of Service or Agreement statements, from any app or software.

WhatsApp

After selecting the ‘Read’ option, you will see a control at the bottom of the screen. If you still don’t want to share your WhatsApp data with Facebook, you need to uncheck the box or toggle the control.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp option 2

If you have already gone through the agreement process without knowing exactly what you are agreeing to, there is still time to roll back on your decision. From the date of acceptance, you have 30 days to make your decision permanent, and you can undo your choice by going to Settings > Account > Share my account info in the app. Simply uncheck the box, and you should be good to go.

WhatsApp

But this does come with a bit of a caveat, so be warned (not that you have much of a choice if you want to continue using the service).

“The Facebook family of companies will still receive and use this information for other purposes such as improving infrastructure and delivery systems, understanding how our services or theirs are used, securing systems, and fighting spam, abuse, or infringement activities,” WhatsApp explained in the service’s help section.

 

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.