WhatsApp

Messaging service Whatsapp is looking to introduce a new feature which will share Whatsapp account information with Facebook. According to screen shots from Android Developer Javier Santos, Whatsapp will share account info to “improve Facebook experiences.”

Facebook-WhatsApp integration

The features are out on WhatsApp version 2.12.413  and will allow users to link WhatsApp with their respective Facebook accounts. Interestingly, users can choose to opt out of the feature but WhatsApp says that users “will not be able to change this in the future.”

The screenshots do not say what information will be shared and it is unclear what data Facebook will be looking at.

Readers will remember that WhatsApp earlier this month dropped its annual subscription fees. At the time, WhatsApp had insisted that it would not be running third-party ads on its platform. The company said that it would test new models for revenue that will allow users to communicate with businesses and organizations they want.

In February 2014, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion. In September 2015, WhatsApp said that it has 900 million monthly active users with India as its largest market. In November 2014, the company said India accounted for 70 million of its active users, which was over a one-tenth of its global users back then.

Implications

– MediaNama had earlier mentioned that Facebook would use WhatsApp to improve personlization and relevance of Facebook rather than advertising. Whatsapp doesn’t collect demographic information like name, gender, address,  or age, but it does need a mobile number for registration. Facebook has this demographic data and the phone number. Connecting the two might help Facebook identify who users interact with most on the mobile platform.

– Note that there are a number of WhatsApp users who do not use Facebook. With information sharing, Facebook might nudge users on WhatsApp to sign up for Facebook.

– WhatsApp also said that it is moving to transactional messages. When users log in from an another device, authentication for Facebook logins might be provided on WhatsApp rather than SMS or automated calls.

Read more: WhatsApp is eating telecom (or trying to)

– Facebook’s mobile app also has a ‘Nearby Friends’ feature which locates friends nearby and connect with them. Facebook might use data from WhatsApp to find users with similar tastes and nudge them to become friends.

– The integration with Facebook might work both ways. Users will also remember that last year, Facebook begun testing a new feature on its Android application which would incorporate a “send” button with the WhatsApp icon. Sharing Facebook posts via WhatsApp could also drive up usage and registrations.

Lower Image credit: Javier Santos