WhatsApp to clearly outline how its privacy updates will affect EU users

by IANS |

London, March 7 (IANS) Meta-owned WhatsApp has committed to being more transparent on changes to its terms of service in the European Union.

The European Commission said in a statement that the company will make it easier for users to reject updates when they disagree with them, and will clearly explain when such rejection leads the user to no longer be able to use WhatsApp's services.

Also, WhatsApp confirmed that users' personal data are not shared with third-parties or other Meta companies -- including Facebook -- for advertising purposes.

"I welcome WhatsApp's commitments to changing its practices to comply with EU rules, actively informing users of any changes to their contract, and respecting their choices instead of asking them each time they open the app," said Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice.

"Consumers have a right to understand what they agree to and what that choice entails concretely, so that they can decide whether they want to continue using the platform," Reynders said in a statement late on Monday.

The Consumer Protection Cooperation Network (CPC) will actively monitor how WhatsApp implements these commitments when making any future updates to its policies and, where necessary, enforce compliance - including by the possibility of imposing fines.

A recent European Commission study showed that many companies use "dark patterns", for example making it more difficult to unsubscribe from a service than to subscribe to it.

The CPC Network first sent a letter to WhatsApp in January 2022, following an alert by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) and eight of its member associations on alleged unfair practices in the context of WhatsApp's updates to their terms of service and privacy policy.

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