The update, which will be released on 8th February, affects WhatsApp users in all countries outside of Europe and the UK, where there are strict data protection laws. Users in these regions will be required to give their consent for Facebook to access their data, including their phone numbers and information about how they interact with others, in order to continue using the app.
This will apply regardless of whether or not the WhatsApp user has a Facebook account, reports MailOnline.
The news has led many people to jump ship to rival apps. Telegram picked up nearly 1.7 million downloads and Signal gained 1.2 million downloads, while WhatsApp, which usually dominates, gained just 1.3 million downloads. WhatsApp installations also fell approximately 13 per cent to 10.3 million downloads in the first seven days of January, compared to the seven days prior.
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