With the new policy, businesses will now able to send messages to users on WhatsApp if they have opted into notifications. These users can then, for example, receive bank balance updates or alerts for airline flight times. In addition to these notifications, brands will also be allowed to send marketing mails with offers and other information.
“By coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp,” the company said. “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.
“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,” WhatsApp stated. It also claims that banner ads or messaging spam won’t be allowed on the platform moving forward and that it would test new features during the coming months.
In order to partially opt out, users will be able to uncheck a box at the bottom of the new policy by tapping “Read” to expand the full text. Privacy activists are likely to be annoyed by the new “opt in by default” changes as WhatsApp has previously stated that the two platforms would remain independent. However, it is easy to see the potential benefits for Facebook, which currently has more than 1.7 billion monthly active users.