WhatsApp Gets Ultimatum from EU to Clarify Privacy Policy

BY Anu Joy

Published 27 Jan 2022


Last year, in July, the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) approached the EU with the grievance that WhatsApp was unfairly pushing users to accept its new privacy policy which allows it to share some data with Facebook and other third-party apps. Today, the Commission and the European network of national consumer authorities (CPC) wrote to WhatsApp for clarification regarding its privacy policy, giving the platform until the end of February to respond.

WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy Controversy

Last year, WhatsApp rolled out a privacy policy update which led to quite an uproar. People started shunning the app and opted for rival messaging apps such as Signal and Telegram. WhatsApp was slapped with a fine of 225 million Euro ($266 million) by Ireland for its general privacy policy for not clarifying how user data would be used.

The BEUC was also spurred to file a complaint with CPC outlining how WhatsApp has been forcing users to accept its new privacy policy. It added that the popular messaging app “has been deliberately vague about this and consumers would be exposed to far reaching data processing without valid consent.”

In a statement, Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said:

“WhatsApp must ensure that users understand what they agree to and how their personal data is used, in particular where it is shared with business partners. I expect from WhatsApp to fully comply with EU rules that protect consumers and their privacy. This is why we launched the official dialogue today. WhatsApp has until the end of February to come back to us with concrete commitments on how they will address our concerns.”

A WhatsApp spokesperson said that the company is looking forward to explaining to the European Commission “how we protect our users’ privacy in compliance with our obligations under EU law.”