What’s the first thing you can think of when you hear that Facebook is considering allowing WhatsApp users to share their status updates to Facebook, Instagram, and other apps? If you said “Cool,” that’s understandable — it could be a cool feature! If you think it’s creepy, you’re also right, because this sort of functionality across the various services belonging to any tech company, especially one that collects that much data, can indeed be creepy.
What we’re saying is that Facebook may use this little trick to connect various accounts which could give it even more insight into who you are, for ad sales purposes and more.
Facebook received plenty of criticism, and even fines, in Europe when it announced that it would connect WhatsApp and Facebook accounts with the help of your phone number. The penalties were doled out because Facebook had initially said it would never do that, yet did anyway.
Now, Facebook is testing the new universal status share feature in WhatsApp, according to The Verge. In addition to sharing it with Facebook or Instagram, you’ll also be able to do it with Gmail and Google Photos, which is somewhat strange. Facebook told The Verge that it won’t do anything to link your accounts between devices:
Instead, it’s making use of the same iOS and Android data-sharing APIs as every other app, meaning data is transferred between the apps on-device. Even if you share data to another Facebook-owned service like Instagram, WhatsApp says the two posts will be separate events in Facebook’s systems, and they will not be linked.
Like I said before, the feature definitely has potential, as some people may want to have the same status updates posted across various platforms. But the feature will require manual input, meaning you won’t be able to instruct WhatsApp to share the status update to Facebook and Instagram automatically.
The feature is only in testing for the time being, so there’s no telling if it’ll ever become a WhatsApp feature.