Messaging service WhatsApp is having its privacy policy updated for the first time in four years.

And the update means things like your phone number will now be connected with Facebook’s systems.

Facebook purchased the company for billions back in 2014, and now your WhatsApp account information will be shared with the social media site, to test “ways for people to communicate with businesses in the months ahead”.

whatsapp app on the home screen of a phone
(Patrick Sison/AP)

 

[Related story: Fed up of Facebook, but want to keep Messenger? Here’s how to do it…]

The messaging service says that by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant adverts when you’re scrolling down the news feed – like, say, adverts from a company you currently work with.

But in a blog post about its changes, WhatsApp explains that your encrypted messages will stay private – so, Facebook won’t be able to see them.

“When you and the people you message are using the latest version of WhatsApp, your messages are encrypted by default, which means you’re the only people who can read them,” the company states.

facebook app
(Dave Thompson/PA)

 

“Even as we co-ordinate more with Facebook in the months ahead, your encrypted messages stay private and no one else can read them. Not WhatsApp, not Facebook, nor anyone else.

“We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers.”

Whatsapp says it wants to test new features for the messaging service – such as being notified by an airline about a delayed flight – but that its Terms and Privacy Policy needs to be updated first.

However, if you are an existing WhatsApp user, you will be able to choose not to have your WhatsApp account information shared – you have an additional 30 days to decline it after accepting the Terms and Privacy Policy.