Following the recent news that WhatsApp will start sharing user data with parent company Facebook, many consumers may be concerned about the privacy implications of the move.
Although no WhatsApp data (conversations, phone numbers etc.) will be shared directly on the social media platform, sharing “some information” with Facebook will result in better spam protection, better friend suggestions and more relevant adverts, according to mobile messaging platform WhatsApp.
In a connected digital age, this may lead to heightened concern regarding personal data – who collects it, what is collected and most importantly how it is used. The reality is that many business models are built on monetizing the collection and use of that data – whether it be Facebook or any other free service. As consumers, our awareness of the use of our data for commercial activity is just more obvious in some instances than in others.
When we receive a sales call from a contact centre, for example, the call may be unsolicited, and there is often no personal recollection of ever having expressed a direct interest in the product or service offered by the contact centre agent. While this may have been because we inadvertently opted in to receive partner offers when engaging with another business, this can feel intrusive if the opt in wasn’t conscious or explicit.