WhatsApp Bows To The EU, Agrees To A Number Of Privacy Policy Changes


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The European Union and European Commission have involved themselves in WhatsApp’s privacy policies. Their consensus? Some things need to change over at Meta.

The most important of which is Meta’s promise to make it ‘easier’ for users to reject updates to the app’s terms of service. In turn, Meta will be forced to clearly explain how rejection of the terms and services will affect their experience in the app, according to the Commission. Should they so desire, users can hold off on agreeing to new terms of service agreements and review them at their leisure.

Self-inflicted wounds

WhatsApp brought its own sword down upon itself back in 2021 when it released a wordy privacy policy that asked users to share their data – like transactional data and connection info – with Meta’s other brands. Some saw this as Meta’s way of legally reading WhatsApp conversations and sharing them with Facebook for commercial gain. It wasn’t, according to the company. But you can’t really argue with a Twitter thread.

WhatsApp explained that it couldn’t access messages (even if it wanted to). That’s because WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption, something that not even WhatsApp can break. Many users saw this as a thinly veiled attempt to continue selling private message data which prompted a move to other services like Signal and Telegram en masse. That lasted for about a week.

Read More: Be gone spam: WhatsApp working on a way to automatically block spam calls

Ooooh la la, you’re in trouble

This sparked interest from the European Commission and the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network back in January of last year. The group sent a letter to the messaging giant, asking it to “ensure that users understand what they agree to and how their personal data is used.”

Meta has since agreed to these changes.

The Consumer Protection Cooperation Network has plans to “actively monitor” WhatsApp’s promises with future policy updates. Should WhatsApp violate these agreements, it may face penalties and fines that… won’t affect the messenger at all. It’s likely we’ll see more of these agreements in the future, with the Commission stating that it would continue scouring companies for similar infringements.

Source: The Verge

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