The changes, according to WhatsApp, will come into effect on February 8, 2021 and users will be required to accept them in order to continue using the app. In contrast to this, as per the previous update that was released in July 2020, users had the option to withhold their WhatsApp account information from being shared with Facebook.
The WhatsApp user data that will be shared with Facebook will include users’ account registration and phone number, transaction data, service-related information, interaction information, mobile device information, and IP address. It will also include other information identified or obtained upon notice to users or based on their consent.
WhatsApp’s policy also states the purpose behind data sharing, explaining that the shared data will be used for understanding how services are used, improving services, making suggestions for users, personalizing features and content, and showing relevant offers and ads across the Facebook Company Products.
As the update indicates, the changes will help WhatsApp to integrate more closely into Facebook's family of products. This will help enhance users’ experience across services, while also helping Facebook to achieve its bigger goals. However, this high-level data sharing is likely to raise concerns regarding privacy among users.