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WhatsApp can Now Share Data with Facebook

Would WhatsApp be as successful and widespread as it is now if Facebook hadn't bought it? It's hard to say, but it probably wouldn't have been able to handle the rapid expansion it's enjoyed since then without their help. It also might not have ever occurred to them to start charging a subscription fee, a decision which could have cost them a huge chunk of their user base if they hadn't overturned the decision last week.

One of the biggest reasons why the annual 69p fee was dropped was because Facebook Messenger is completely free, and it doesn't make a lot of sense to offer one charged chat service when you already have a free alternative on the market. Of course, not all that many people are necessarily aware that Facebook own WhatsApp, but this latest update might well change that - the option has been added to share your Facebook data with the app.

This means, first and foremost, that you will see people you've spoken to on WhatsApp popping up on your suggested friends, but beyond that all that the option says is that it will 'improve your Facebook experiences'. That sounds more than a little ominous to me, and it's likely that beyond enhancing the user experience, Facebook want the data as much for their own benefit as yours. One imagines that it could factor into event scheduling, seeing who's online on chat and other, similar things, but only time will tell.

Happily, it's not compulsory, and personally I think I'd rather keep it off, the same as I have with the horrid 'last online' status and those infernal ticks. WhatsApp is good because it's always been self-contained, but even if this addition interferes with that, again, you don't have to use it.

Just as a measure of good faith, the security of the data has also been beefed up, and a 'documents' area has been added to keep all the files sent across chat in one place. The latter is a very welcome addition, I'm sure I'm not the only one tired of constantly going through the photo library in my phone and deleting all the images transferred over from WhatsApp.

Taking all this, and the removal of the fee into account, it does seem like Facebook understand that the blooming mass of WhatsApp patrons are a timid bunch, who could easily all run off to Kik or some other service if something scared them enough. Both the money and the Facebook integration were capable of that, but they've kept their heads screwed on straight with regards to both.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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WhatsApp can Now Share Data with Facebook Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, January 28, 2016 Rating: 5

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