Privacy is great, so it’s not wrong to think about the massive amount of data some apps collect about you. With this tip, you will find out what you will reveal when using WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is by far the largest chat service in the Netherlands: it seems as if almost everyone in our country uses this service. In 2014, Facebook, now known as Meta, acquired the chat service for $16 billion (about €15.4 billion). WhatsApp has been promised that it will continue to operate independently.
Anyway, a lot of information about you is stored by the Meta owner. If you want to know what they keep, you can send a request to receive the entire file. In order to comply with the known General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the Company must give you access to your personal data and the manner in which it is processed.
No talks on dates
First: There is no chat history between this data. The conversations you have are actually well protected with end-to-end encryption, so only you and the recipient can see the messages. So WhatsApp cannot read your chats.
This is good news for your privacy, but you cannot request a history of all your conversations from WhatsApp. By the way, there is an option in the app to export the entire chat history.
What information can you request?
Thus, your messages are safe, but Meta has insight into a lot of metadata, i.e. information about your data. This is not only about, for example, your name, phone number, and how long you’ve used the app, it’s also about your current and past IP addresses, the type of phone you’re using, and the places where you’ve logged in using WhatsApp Web.
Additionally, you get a list of all your contacts, although only phone numbers and not names are collected. You’ll also see all group chats you’ve been in before, including descriptions and photos associated with those groups. Additionally, WhatsApp keeps track of all of your privacy settings, as well as a list of phone numbers you’ve blocked.
So you ask
Your data is requested via WhatsApp itself. Go to Settings and select “Account” and then “Request Account Information”. Here you will find the option to “Request a report”.
Meta then needs about three days to prepare your report. When he’s there, you’ll get a notification on your phone. In the same place from the settings, the option “Download report” will appear.
The data is packed in a zip file, which may not be easy to open on your smartphone. The best solution is to email the file to yourself and then open it on a PC or laptop. The report is not very long, but it contains all the metadata stored about you. It is of course a good idea to be aware of the information you share with companies.
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