FACEBOOK owns WhatsApp and Instagram – but what does that mean for your data?
We reveal what sort of info Facebook will glean from its other apps.
Instagram and WhatsApp are what’s called Facebook Companies.
They began as standalone firms, but were eventually bought out by Facebook and now live under the same corporate roof.
That means Facebook ultimately has total control over how WhatsApp and Instagram operate.
And the data collected by the firms is ultimately managed by Facebook too.
WhatsApp and Facebook – what is shared?
WhatsApp is generally more secure than Instagram.
So the level of data that can be passed across to Facebook is limited by encryption.
That means your messages aren’t – and can’t be – shared with Facebook.
And Facebook has said that it doesn’t take your WhatsApp contacts for marketing purposes either.
This includes your phone number, and device information too.
That would include device identifiers, the OS version, app version, platform info, your mobile country code and network control.
It also collects usage info, including when you registered your account – and when you last used WhatsApp.
WhatsApp will also track the types and frequency of your usage of features.
That could mean how many messages you send, or the number of voice calls you make – but not their contents.
WhatsApp says it shares info with Faceboook when it “is necessary for the purpose of promoting safety, security and integrity”.
This means Facebook will check if a WhatsApp users is using other Facebook services – like Instagram, or Facebook proper.
However, WhatsApp says it doesn’t give personal info to Facebook to provide more relevant ads.
Instagram and Facebook – what is shared?
Instagram doesn’t share the same levels of encryption as WhatsApp.
So while WhatsApp messages can’t be read by Facebook staff, Instagram DMs can.
Instagram is also a more public platform, so Facebook can learn a lot more about you.
Instagram says it collects any info and content you provide.
That means when you sign up for an account, create or share any content, or talk to other users.
It will also gobble up metadata, like locations of photos, dates files were created, and things you see through the camera – to provide filters or tips.
Instagram will also harvest info about people, pages, accounts, hashtags and groups you’re connected to.
And it’ll grab contact info too, if you’ve chosen to import an address book, call log or SMS history.
Your usage of features is tracked, including the types of content you view or engage with.
It also monitors who you’re interacting with, how often, and for how long.
Any transactions made through Instagram will be logged.
And if other people provide info about you, that will also be harvested.
Data about the device you use, including its operating system, battery level, signal strength, and available storage space are monitored.
And device operations are also logged, including whether a window is in the foreground or background, as well as mouse movements.
Device signals, including nearby WiFi access points, cell towers and Bluetooth signals, are logged.
And you’ll be tracked via cookies and other unique identifiers too.
Facebook can connect this information across its other products and devices.
Location-related information can also be passed across to Facebook.
Importantly, Facebook says it uses information about you to personalise ads across services.
This includes your interests, actions, connections and more.
So if you see ads on Facebook for something you’ve talked about on Instagram, don’t be surprised.
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