Following the controversy around the change to its privacy policies in early 2021, WhatsApp and the European Union have come to an agreement. The European Commission and EU consumer protection officials state that the messaging app will make it easier to reject modifications to its terms of service.
Furthermore, where accepting these terms will restrict access to its services, the Meta-owned brand will “clearly disclose” this. Users have the option to put off and ignore notifications for these upgrades.
Also, the company affirmed that it does not exchange personal information for advertising reasons with other Meta companies, such as Facebook. The Commission also pointed out that the corporation doesn’t reveal this information to outside organisations.
Although users didn’t notice any big changes, several users thought this meant WhatsApp was sharing their calls and messages with Facebook.
As a result, a large number of users switched to secure chat alternatives like Telegram and Signal. In an effort to reassure users, WhatsApp claimed that it couldn’t access end-to-end encrypted conversations. The corporation had to stop the policy’s implementation due to the backlash, though.
When the revised conditions were eventually reintroduced, they contained explanations but also a notice that customers would gradually lose access to the service if they did not accept the terms.
In response to accusations of unfair practises, the European Commission intervened in January of last year and asked WhatsApp to be more transparent about how it utilises users’ data. In June of last year, the Commission asked WhatsApp to provide a clearer explanation of its business strategy, including if it makes money off of user data.
Throughout next policy updates, the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network of the Commission plans to “actively monitor” WhatsApp’s compliance with these obligations. Any infractions are subject to fines and other penalties.