Reviewed October 1st, 2020
privacy guide
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Facebook, Inc.


WhatsApp is a popular messaging app that is end-to-end encrypted for both messages and calls. It also allows for one-on-one and group video calls with up to eight people. WhatsApp can be downloaded for free from the App Store, and only requires a phone number to login.

Breach History

Has there ever been a breach or data leak?


Date of last breach

December 2019

Over 267 million Facebook user phone numbers, names and user IDs were exposed in a database on the dark web. Facebook believes this breach occurred either through exploitation of Facebook's API, which has since been updated, or through automated technology used to scrape information from public user profiles.

Privacy Checklist

Does it meet our minimum privacy standards?

Is any kind of biometric data collected (health, heart, voice, etc.)?


Are you able to delete your data / the data collected about you?


Does it use cookies, telemetry, or third-party tracking scripts?


Is the privacy policy user-friendly (easy to understand)?


Does it have parental controls?


Does it use encryption to protect your data both in-transit and at-rest?


Does it get regular software and / or firmware updates?


Does it require you to create a strong password?


Is there a system in place for managing security vulnerabilities?


Does it have a privacy policy?


How Can It Snoop?

What sensitive hardware access requirements does it have?

Does it have a camera or request / require access to a camera?


Does it have a microphone or request / require access to a microphone?


Does it track your location or request / require access to location data?


Account Requirements

What information is required to create an account or use it?

Does it require an email address to use?


Does it require a phone number to use?


Does it require an address (home or office) to use?


Payment Options

What payment methods are available?

Are you able to use a credit card as a payment option?


Are you able to use a cryptocurrency as a payment option?


Are you able to use PayPal as a payment option?


Are you able to use cash or gift cards as a payment option?


What Could Go Wrong?

What's the worst case scenario for your data?

WhatsApp in itself does decently well with security. However, given that it is owned by Facebook, there is some concern that personal data may be sold off to third parties. Be aware of this risk when using this app.

How Does It Share Your Data?

Where is your data going? Who has access to it?

WhatsApp collects information such as your phone number, name, profile picture, status, contacts, etc. WhatsApp claims it shares your personal information with third party partners for operating and advertising purposes. It is also owned by Facebook which means Facebook will also have access to all of your data and will be subjected to their privacy policy.

Good Things

Why should you use it?

  • End-to-end encrypted messaging.
  • Cross-platform support.
  • Lots of customization.

Bad Things

What are the downsides?

  • Facebook privacy concerns.
  • You need to convince your friends to use it as well.

Final Thoughts

Facebook is notoriously bad when it comes to protecting user privacy. They have been the target of several hacks, and have been known to sell user information to third parties, such as Cambridge Analytica. Even though messages in this app are supposedly end-to-end encrypted, the fact that it is owned by Facebook means they most likely have a backdoor to access information from these messages. Use this app with extreme caution.

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