Messaging service WhatsApp on Thursday announced that it will soon start sharing its users' phone numbers with parent company Facebook, in addition to the features of they device they are using. It will soon be "coordinating" accounts with Facebook to better identify its users on the social networking site, which will allow the platform to recommend friends and show targeted ads, The Associated Press reported.
The company, which was acquired by Facebook in a $21.8-billion deal in 2014, clarified that the move will not bring "traditional display ads" to the app itself. While companies will be able to send marketing pitches or sales messages to potential customers on WhatsApp, users will have the option to block such messages. "We do not want you to have a spammy experience," the company said in its first revision of its policies since 2012.
Moreover, Facebook has vowed to not compromise the privacy of WhatsApp users – a policy it has stood by since its launch – and said it will not share users' information with advertisers. WhatsApp users have up to 30 days to either accept the new terms or stop using the app. On accepting the new policies, users will have 30 more days to choose to not have their phone numbers shared with Facebook.