On August 25, 2016, WhatsApp announced in a blog post that the popular mobile messaging platform updated its Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to permit certain information sharing with Facebook. After Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014, the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection wrote a letter to both Facebook and WhatsApp that discussed the companies’ obligations to honor privacy statements made to consumers in connection with the acquisition.

WhatsApp has developed FAQs that discuss the changes to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. In addition to describing new product features, such as WhatsApp Calling, the FAQs describe the new information sharing with Facebook. WhatsApp will begin to share users’ phone numbers that are registered with WhatsApp, as well as the last time that individuals used the service. According to the update, WhatsApp will not disclose the content of any messages or photos sent via WhatsApp to Facebook.

The information disclosed to Facebook will be used for several purposes. These include enabling WhatsApp and Facebook to (1) more accurately count users, (2) fight spam and abuse, and (3) improve user experiences across WhatsApp and Facebook services, such as providing better friend suggestions and more relevant ads on Facebook. WhatsApp will provide its users with the ability to opt out from sharing information with Facebook for the purpose of improving Facebook ads and product experiences.