For years, I refused to install WhatsApp messenger because I had customer contact details and other information on my phone.
Eventually, I made a concerted effort to clear all that out, with the side effect that I could then install WhatsApp, based in part on their promise that personal data - names, addresses, internet searches or location data - would not be collected, much less used.
When WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook, it was inevitable that that promise was going to get broken. Something all the more apparent when one of the WA founders left Facebook as a result of a disagreement about privacy.
So disappointing as it is, the recent news really was quite inevitable.
WhatsApp have pushed a notification of a change in their terms and conditions - the new changes allow them to share data with Facebook, including (but not limited to)
- User's phone numbers
- User's contact lists (see below)
- Profile information
- Status information
- "Diagnostic data" - what phone model you're using, what networks you're on etc
- Location data
- "User content"
- Details of purchases made with businesses using WhatsApp, including Financial Information
- "Usage data"
These changes will come into effect from 8 Feb 2021 - if you disagree with the changes, then the only recourse is to delete your account before then (which probably isn't GDPR compliant, but Facebook tend not to worry about that).