WhatsApp recently submitted the latest 2.18.57 version of its app to the Google Play Beta Program. While the update has not many visible changes, an online report claims to have gotten hold of WhatsApp's "Terms of Service (ToS)" that are all set to change significantly in the coming stable updates. The purported ToS reveal that WhatsApp will soon start sharing user data with parent company Facebook. Users will also get the ability to block businesses jumping on to the platform courtesy of the recently launched WhatsApp for Business platform.
The Facebook-owned messaging service apparently did not do a great job at hiding these objectionable Terms of Service, as WhatsApp update tracker WABetaInfo recently got hold of them in the latest beta version of the messaging app. The website has posted an entire list of the new ToS which reveal that WhatsApp will soon be sharing personal information with "Facebook Companies" although "it [information] will only be used to provide services to WhatsApp." While it is unclear whether this translates into enhanced ad tracking or not, the ToS reaffirms that "nothing you share on WhatsApp, including your phone number, will be shown on Facebook or any of the Facebook Company Products, unless you choose to show it."
Additionally, the ToS state that sharing posts from sister concern platforms like Facebook and Instagram will soon be easier on WhatsApp. The messaging app will also work with products under the Facebook banner to promote and extend the services to users on those platforms.
Another revelation from the Terms of Service claims that WhatsApp is working on certain features to help businesses get on to the app faster. These include collaborating with Facebook companies to offer users with "sponsored content/ ads from these businesses." From the tone of it, the decision seems to a great departure from co-founder Jan Koum's no-advertising philosophy and even this official blog post from 2012. It seems Facebook is finally looking to put those billions of dollars to work after it acquired WhatsApp back in 2014.
The Terms of Services also note that WhatsApp shares information with other Facebook Companies to ensure the safety of users on the platform by removing things like hate speech, dangerous activity, and abusive content. In this section, however, WhatsApp admits that it will share information such as personal phone numbers, profile names, businesses you interact with, device details, and, most importantly, sponsored content/ ads.