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WhatsApp cozies up to Facebook: Beta app build offers to ‘improve my Facebook experience’

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Barely a week after WhatsApp announced it was doing away with its $1 annual charge, we’re starting to see new information that points to a closer relationship between the popular messaging service and its parent company, Facebook.

A post on German site Caschys’ Blog shows screenshots of a new beta build, which provides a new option for WhatsApp users to share their account information with the social network to “improve my Facebook experiences.” It’s pretty unclear what that means or how that integration will benefit one’s Facebook, but we have reached out to Facebook and will update this post accordingly. There are also new service terms users will have to agree to in the new build.

Facebook largely left WhatsApp alone after it acquired the company for $19 billion in 2014, and at the time, WhatsApp’s CEO and Co-Founder Jan Koum said the messaging service would “remain autonomous and operate independently” of Facebook, and that “nothing” will change for users. But it seems like the tide is changing and Facebook may want a bigger piece of the pie.

WhatsApp is known for its end-to-end encryption that protects conversations from being snooped on. The latest beta build features a security tab that allows users to toggle on a setting to show that their messages are encrypted. Messages are encrypted regardless of what you choose, but this at least offers an option for users to see that their messages are indeed secure.

A Reddit post discussing the new beta build also shows screenshots from the new build, revealing a tool for users to verify that their conversations are encrypted by scanning QR codes. Another screenshot also hints at an upcoming document feature, which would likely allow users to manage files received through the app.

As it is a beta build, keep in mind that these features may not end up to the final public version.

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