Whatsapp Suspends Data Sharing With Facebook Over European Soil

After several European governments raised privacy concerns over Whatsapp’s new policy of user data sharing with Facebook, the company has decided to halt the transmissions until it feels all governmental concerns are addressed.

Whatsapp, the mobile messaging giant, has informed the European authorities in charge of protecting citizen’s data privacy that the company hasn’t initiated any data sharing with Facebook of user’s information.

On August 25th, after rolling out an update to enable end-to-end encryption to all users, the company issued a blog post  changing its Terms, Conditions, and Privacy Policy:

We won’t post or share your WhatsApp number with others, including on Facebook, and we still won’t sell, share, or give your phone number to advertisers.
But by coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp.

The post raised significant concerns on social media and attracted the attention of several governmental authorities. The European Data Protection Working Party issued a statement on October 27:

According to the information which has been provided to users of the service, WhatsApp will share information within the “Facebook family of companies” for a range of purposes that include marketing and advertising. These are not purposes which were included within the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy when existing users signed-up for the service. These changes have been introduced in contradiction with previous public statements of the two companies ensuring that no sharing of data would ever take place.

For the Data Protection Working Party, the popularity of the messaging service means that these changes may affect millions of citizens in all EU member states and that it has “created great uncertainty among users and non-users of the service.”

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, was contacted by European authorities to hand out all the available information needed to participate in the ongoing investigation regarding this issue. No data sharing with Facebook will be allowed until the authorities feel that the company has offered enough guarantees over the security and privacy of the user’s information.

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