What’s behind WhatsApp’s new terms of service? 

The new terms of use of the messaging service WhatsApp cause quite a stir. Since Wednesday, the in-app notification is sent with the reference to this. Until 08 February 2021, all users have time to agree or they use another app.

Major changes – two points

One thing became clear from the many messages in recent days. If you want to continue to use WhatsApp, you have no choice but to agree to the new terms of use. The acceptance can be done directly when the notification appears or postponed to later. But until February 08, 2021, you have to accept them or you can no longer use the service. If you believe the in-app notification then it is about two main points. One is how WhatsApp handles users’ data and the other is “how businesses can use Facebook-hosted services to store and manage their WhatsApp chats.” The last point should probably only concern companies that use the service as a communication tool. In contrast, the first point is about the legal basis of data processing.

What is behind this?

Speculation about the new terms and conditions has been rife in the meantime. Concerns were expressed that WhatsApp passes on to Facebook, for example, to improve the advertising measures here. If you look at the whole thing more closely, the point with the cooperation with Facebook companies has definitely been revised. However, this point is intended to fight spam and abuse, more precisely it says: “to promote the security and integrity of all products of Facebook companies”. According to a statement, the information will be shared with other Facebook companies to provide, operate, improve and customize the services. This item is also intended to be used for marketing purposes. However, the following restriction, which has also been around for a while, is crucial: “None of the information WhatsApp shares on this basis may be used for the Facebook companies’ own purposes.” That is, Facebook receives certain information from WhatsApp users, but is not allowed to use it to improve its own ad system.

No changes for European users

According to the messaging service, “there are no changes to WhatsApp’s data sharing practices in the European region as a result of the updated Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.” Likewise, “it remains the case that WhatsApp does not share WhatsApp user data from the European region with Facebook so that Facebook can use that data to improve its products or ads.” This should keep things the same for us. WhatsApp’s new privacy policy for users outside Europe, printed in German, has caused a lot of confusion. Here, there is probably a much closer cooperation with Facebook and its company. These regulations do not apply to Germany.


From a data protection point of view, WhatsApp has always been at the back of the pack, unlike other apps. This should be well known. A lot of data has been stored by the service for years. All in all, the current changes for European users are not as dramatic as portrayed on the web. However, if you have decided that you no longer want to use the service. You can delete your account at any time under “Delete my account”. It will take up to 90 days until the information is deleted from the service.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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