Free Text and Call App WhatsApp Tests New Status-Sharing Feature

phone show free text and call app whatsapp

WhatsApp is a known free text and call app that has now about 500 Million users. Recently, they are testing a new sharing feature. It allows its users to share their WhatsApp status with other apps.

So far, only users in their beta program can view and try out this feature.

Where can users share their WhatsApp Status?

Users can share it on their Facebook Story. They can also send it to another social media app like Instagram, Gmail or Google photos. It’s also possible that new social media apps will get included in the mix, but so far there are no other apps mentioned.

According to The Verge’s report, the said free text app has no direct link to share your status to Facebook. It provides iOS and Android data-sharing APIs instead. When a user shares their status to Facebook-owned Services (Ex. Instagram), there’s no linking. They have two separate posts on Facebook’s systems.

Their clarification with linking is essential. It’s because of the backlash and issues Facebook got from acquiring WhatsApp a few years ago.

WhatsApp Acquisition That Led to $122 Million Fine

Facebook acquired the free text and call app last 2014. With this major change, people speculated that the social media giant will grab the data.

With this, the local chat clarified the speculations through their official blog. They promised that they wouldn’t start collecting data from the messaging app. Quoted from their official blog last March 2014, this is what they’ve ensured their users:

“Make no mistake: our future partnership with Facebook will not compromise the vision that brought us to this point. Our focus remains on delivering the promise of WhatsApp far and wide so that people around the world have the freedom to speak their mind without fear.”

WhatsApp Official Blog, March 17, 2014

Yet despite their promise, changes happened.

Two years after the acquisition, WhatsApp changed its terms and privacy policy. They announced that the app will begin sharing a limited amount of user data to Facebook:

“Today, we’re updating WhatsApp’s terms and privacy policy for the first time in four years, as part of our plans to test ways for people to communicate with businesses in the months ahead. The updated documents also reflect that we’ve joined Facebook and that we’ve recently rolled out many new features, like end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp Calling, and messaging tools like WhatsApp for web and desktop.”

WhatsApp Official Blog, August 25, 2016

This led to French and German regulators stopping the data collection. Facebook was fined $122 Million by the European Commission, due to Facebook of misleading regulators about linking the accounts.

Are WhatsApp Privacy Issues in Jeopardy Again?

With this new feature, it doesn’t mean that Facebook will get data from the international and local chat app. They clarified that they’re working on more favorable terms with this sharing feature. Meanwhile, users are still skeptical. With Facebook Merging its 3 leading services, privacy issues might ensue.

As of now, the only thing that the public can do is wait. Changes will be based once the feature is out in the public. They can also take precautionary measures, and look for alternative online texting apps.