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WhatsApp plans to start sharing account information, including when a member last used the app with its parent company Facebook. For users who would rather they don't, there's a way to opt out.
When presented with WhatsApp's new terms of service, choose "read" and scroll to the bottom of the page. Uncheck the box that says, "Share my WhatsApp account information with Facebook to improve my Facebook ads and products experiences." Next, click "agree."
If you've already agreed to the terms of service, you have a 30-day grace period to opt out of sharing. Click the settings gear in the app, go to account and remove the check mark from the "share my account info" option.
Sharing account information with Facebook would allow WhatsApp to offer better friend suggestions and show users more relevant ads on Facebook, according to a blog posted to WhatsApp's site on Thursday.
"We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won't sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers," the blog post said.
The move will instead allow WhatsApp to coordinate more with Facebook and do things such as track how often people use the services and to better fight spam, according to WhatsApp.
"And by connecting your phone number with Facebook's systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them," the blog post said.
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion. The app now has more than one billion users.
The company re-iterated its commitment to privacy and said users who had the latest version of the app could rest assured their messages have the protection of end-to-end encryption, meaning no one else can access them.
WhatsApp had made money by charging users a $1 annual fee after their first year. However, in January, co-founder and CEO Jan Klum announced the company was dropping the fee.