Tuesday, December 7, 2021

BEUC File Complaint Against WhatsApp Over Privacy Update

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) has filed a complaint over WhatsApp’s privacy update.

Facebook and WhatsApp sparked a furor over a proposed privacy update, in which Facebook would share data from WhatsApp with other Facebook-owned companies. Initially, Facebook said users would be locked out of their accounts if they did not accept the new terms by a certain date.

The backlash was swift and severe, with many WhatsApp users (including yours truly) closing their accounts. Signal and Telegram, in particular, saw huge increases in their user bases as a result of Facebook’s plans. Facebook postponed the cutoff deadline in response, before finally saying they would not close accounts that did not accept the new terms.

Despite Facebook walking back its position, the BEUC has filed a complaint, according to SFGate. The BEUC has accused WhatsApp of bombarding users with prompts to accept the new terms, and says the service has not been clear or transparent regarding the terms of the new agreement.

“WhatsApp has been bombarding users for months with aggressive and persistent pop-up messages to force them to accept its new terms of use and privacy policy,” BEUC Director General Monique Goyens said. “They’ve been telling users that their access to their app will be cut off if they do not accept the new terms. Yet consumers don’t know what they’re actually accepting.”

The complaint is the latest setback Facebook has faced, and is further demonstration of the increasing importance of privacy to consumers.

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