The popular messaging service WhatsApp continues to be problematic for a great deal of its users and, more recently, we also have reports from Europe about people not adhering to the app’s latest changes in privacy terms.
Those changes now enable WhatsApp to share users’ account information with Facebook, its parent company, and Germany was the first country to strongly oppose this. During this week, the Hamburg city DPA ordered Facebook to stop collecting account information from WhatsApp.
The UK appears to be preparing to take some measures in this sense as information commissioner Elizabeth Dunham stated during a BBC interview that an investigation will be launched to see exactly what effects the data-sharing between the two companies has.
She also revealed that many WhatsApp users in the UK have been complaining about the app’s new policy and that some were completely disappointed due to the fact that a few years ago, Facebook specifically said that the two companies would not share information.
The two companies will essentially share information about the mobile number a user is registered with and details about when the user was last seen on the app. The purpose of this new policy is for Facebook to create better targeted ads and those who do not wish to be a part of this situation, can simply opt out of it.
This data sharing controversy between WhatsApp and Facebook also caught the eye of the European Commission and the competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager recently spoke at a conference in Brussels about the importance of regulating data EU-wide and that people should be able to control what giant Internet companies do with their private information and that those companies should be transparent in what they do with user’s data and how they do it. She also noted that one of the key points in accepting Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp was the fact they wouldn’t merge data.
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