Delete your personal data from WhatsApp
Rightly, Champions of Data, empowers you to easily and securely manage your personal online data.
In 2021, Meta owned WhatsApp was ordered to pay a fine of $266 million (£212 million), for failing to be transparent about how it handled personal information, its first fine under strengthened European Union data protection law.
In a separate incident in 2021, a WhatsApp security vulnerability meant that the app’s image filter function created a risk that could have exposed all two billion users. Fortunately, a security patch was implemented quickly, but it shows how easily an unexpected flaw can expose users’ personal data to criminals.
Also in 2021, it was reported in Forbes magazine that concerns were being raised that Facebook, also owned by Meta, was spying on WhatsApp messages. Facebook was described as “the World's most avaricious data harvester”. There was a privacy backlash following an investigation by ProPublica who discovered WhatsApp had “more than 1,000 contract workers filling floors of office buildings in Texas, Dublin and Singapore, where they examine millions of pieces of users' content”. However, Facebook claimed that these contractors only sift through reported content sent by people as evidence of abusive behaviour or content red-flagged by WhatsApp’s own algorithm. Nonetheless, this news undermined the idea that WhatsApp is as secure as it claims.
There have been incidents of malware being downloaded onto phones through WhatsApp that then compromise personal data held on the device.
On this page we’ll explain why it’s a good idea to get your data deleted from WhatsApp and how to go about it. Or if you just want to get started, click the Start Now button which will take you directly to our Rightly Protect service, enabling you to find out who has your data and get it deleted, quickly and for free.
Can I delete my data from WhatsApp?
Yes you can! You have the right to ask any company to delete all the data they hold on you and they have to comply within 30 days. This right flows from GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) legislation and if companies don’t comply without a valid reason, they can be in trouble.
How do I delete data from WhatsApp?
The easiest way to get your data deleted from companies like WhatsApp is to use our Rightly Protect service. In addition to picking WhatsApp and asking them to erase your data, you can use our service to analyse your email inbox to figure out all the companies that have your data. Then you can ask all of them to delete the data they hold on you in one click. Because many companies have your data, even companies you’ve never heard of, and it often runs into hundreds or even thousands of organisations putting your data at risk.
How long until WhatsApp responds?
WhatsApp should reply within one calendar month. If they have genuine reasons that they need extra time to consider your request, they can take up to an extra two months - but they should let you know within one month that they need more time and the reasons why. If you’re unhappy with how they respond, you can make a complaint to WhatsApp and then if you’re still unhappy, you can complain to the ICO (Information Commissioner’s office).
Does WhatsApp actually delete your data?
Yes, it’s a legal requirement. After one calendar month has passed since your account deletion request, your account and all of your information will be permanently erased by WhatsApp, and you will not be able to retrieve it.
What type of data does WhatsApp store on me?
WhatsApp can collect a wide range of data from registered users:
● Names and passwords of account holders
● Email addresses
● Biometric data
● Social media accounts
● Messaging services
● Phone numbers
● Metadata on how people use the WhatsApp mobile app and website
● Transactional data from WhatsApp owned products and services
● Data on which devices are linked to which accounts
● Geolocational data
What does WhatsApp do with my data?
WhatsApp’s main motive for building a data set around each user is to personalise the ads that show up on your feed. Ad targeting changes are made based on a lot of different data: your personal account info, your usage patterns, your location, and more.
But it’s not just your data that shapes your ad feed: WhatsApp compiles the same kinds of data from a variety of users and uses it to optimise when and where it shows you certain ads on other platforms. The additional data that WhatsApp collects helps the company to perform strategic market research, communicate directly with users, and counter suspected misuse.
Why delete my data from WhatsApp?
WhatsApp has suffered a series of breach attempts and there can be little doubt that hackers will continue attempts to compromise your personal data.
If you’re not using WhatsApp any more, or think a fresh profile would be a good thing, you can instruct WhatsApp to delete all the data they have about you and so prevent it from being stolen as a result of a data breach.