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If you received an in-app message on WhatsApp this week, don't skip and ignore it! The messaging service has updated its terms and conditions section to include further Facebook integration.

Changes will come into effect from 8 February. After which any user that has not agreed to the new terms will no longer be able to access the messaging service.

Jan Vermeulen is the Editor-at-large at MyBroadband.co.za explains.

Some of the changes that come into effect will allow the sharing of data with Facebook's family of companies.

How worried should we be about the data that WhatsApp and Facebook will have access to?

While I feel people are understandably cautious and upset about this, it is not quite as bad as people who are freaking out about it might suggest.

Jan Vermeulen, Senior journalist - MyBroadband.co.za

He says Facebook is assuring people that WhatsApp users' messages remain end-to-end encrypted.

We can't even see those messages. Your private messages are not going to be posted to Facebook or shared with anybody.

Jan Vermeulen, Senior journalist - MyBroadband.co.za

He says the group is trying to assure users that these changes only refers to business messaging.

So if you send a message to a business on WhatsApp, or if a business sends you a message, this is the only thing they say this privacy policy is going to be affecting.

Jan Vermeulen, Senior journalist - MyBroadband.co.za

In particular, it pertains to a business that chooses to store conversations in Facebook's cloud service, rather than keeping records themselves,

They have said they will then inform customers and users when that happens.

Jan Vermeulen, Senior journalist - MyBroadband.co.za

But as you might expect, people just don't believe Facebook at this stage, and honestly, the notification from them was quite confusing.

Jan Vermeulen, Senior journalist - MyBroadband.co.za

The announcement did say it would be changing the way it passes users' personal data between Facebook products.

Vermeulen clarifies.

But it is not your private messages - but it is the other stuff about you that Facebook reserves the right to share amongst its services.

Jan Vermeulen, Senior journalist - MyBroadband.co.za

The services include the main Facebook network as well as Instagram and Oculus VR, he says.

So they may share things like your phone number...but they promised not to spy on your contacts...but the fact is people just don't trust them anymore.

Jan Vermeulen, Senior journalist - MyBroadband.co.za

Are your contacts safe?

Your information about your contacts is exposed to Facebook and WhatApp to some extent on some level. I am not extent to what extent it is sent to the servers.

Jan Vermeulen, Senior journalist - MyBroadband.co.za

People are exploring alternatives such as Telgram and Signal, he says.

Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who leaked classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013, himself has endorsed Telegram as safe to use, adds Vermeulen.

Listen to the two interviews with Jan Vermeulen below:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Facebook and WhatApp privacy changes: 'They promise not to spy on your contacts'

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