January 16, 2021
2 mins read

Facebook was already accessing WhatsApp data years ago

whatsapp from facebook

Whatsapp will change its terms and conditions of use again but it seems that this time it has not liked the network much. First of all the program you’re using is called WhatsApp from Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s company bought whatsapp in 2014 as can be seen in this news Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19 billion. At the time it was not known but the data has already started to be shared since that date and this article explains it.

The new terms of service and what WhatsApp requires us to accept them you can see here -> https://www.whatsapp.com/legal/terms-of-service-eea.

An unexpected message on WhatsApp from facebook

On April 13, 2016, I got a whatsapp message from  a person I didn’t know. I saw the picture he had in her profile and hes name and it didn’t sound like anything to me. I don’t reply to these types of messages unless the person writes to me repeatedly. In that case I tell them that they have made a mistake or who I am to know if we have anything in common. They’re spam messages or similar, it’s like bait for you to answer. That’s why it’s a good idea not to answer them. But this particular message was not, it was due to a mistake by the sender. At least that’s what I think.

Figure 1. message received via Whatsapp from a stranger

People you (un)know on Facebook

The funny thing about the case is that some time later I see that in the “People you may know” section of Facebook appeared  just that person who as you can see is using the same image on Whatsapp and on Facebook as can be seen in  Fig. 2.

Figure 2. Suggestions from friends made by Facebook

Just as the person on the left Facebook suggests it to me and tells me that there are“5 friends in common” however with that person I do not have any friends in common and yet he suggests it to me. How can Facebook know that “maybe” you know that person? To the person on the left the Facebook algorithm suggests it because it may be that somehow I know it, since I have 5 contacts in common. You probably know her. On the right, the algorithm suggests it to me without having anything in common.


A person sends a WhatsApp message by  mistake to someone else they thought they knew. Facebook  “read” that information, accessed my personal whatsapp data, and its algorithms concluded that I know that person and hence suggested it as contact. That is… Facebook suggests to me a contact that is not on my mobile phone contact list, and which is therefore not a friend or acquaintance of mine after accessing  my private WhatsApp data. That’s the only reasonable explanation.

Whatsapp belongs to Facebook but I think they should not share information with each other especially if that information comes from people who are not on your mobile phone contact list. Therefore, I do not agree that information is now shared in terms of use. That information was already shared, but now they’ve put it in writing.

Thanks to Chema Alonso for sharing  this story on her  blog. It is a more technical version and where some more details are given. I share this video also where in the timestamp of 25:30 talks  precisely about this -> https://youtu.be/sGRJt_8mb5s?t=1531 (25:30).

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Avelino Dominguez

👨🏻‍🔬 Biologist 👨🏻‍🎓 Teacher 👨🏻‍💻 Technologist 📊 Statistician 🕸 #SEO #SocialNetwork #Web #Data ♟Chess 🐙 Galician

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