EU GDPR reviews Facebook WhatsApp Data Sharing Terms

Dr. Jean-Philippe Chetcuti co-authored with Dr Susanna Deguara | Published on 19 Jan 2021

EU GDPR reviews Facebook WhatsApp Data Sharing Terms

Many WhatsApp users have already been alerted with the latest privacy rule amendments brought forward by the messaging giant. Users need to agree to new terms with WhatApp’s mother company Facebook to continue making use of the global messaging platform. Facebook had acquired WhatsApp for over €13 billion in 2014, at the time being the largest acquisition venture-backed company in history. 

What the New Privacy Rules mean you the User? 

The new privacy rules grant Facebook access to information from WhatsApp and share information from the social media platform to WhatsApp.  WhatsApp has long prided itself on the unwavering commitment to security and privacy, with the inclusion of end-to-end encryption. But the new announcement seems contradictory to previous efforts: 
"As part of the Facebook family of companies, WhatsApp receives information from, and shares information with, this family of companies,"

New Policy Rules

The agreement to the new WhatsApp Privacy Rules, which is essential for users to continue using WhatsApp, gives the green light for WhatsApp to share and receive from Facebook information to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support and market their services. 

Reaction of user base and privacy advocates 

Facebook-WhatsApp's strategy to adopt the new privacy policy to have backfired greatly. With a possible law suit in its biggest market, India, and nation-wide investigation in Turkey, WhatsApp was coerced to delay the implementation of the new privacy terms until May. 

WhatsApp-Facebook data-sharing transparency under review by EU DPAs 

A number of protests have been raised to the European Data Protection Board to ensure that the new terms are indeed compliant with EU GDPR. The European Data Protection Board is currently looking into the matter with the objective of ensuring that the privacy of European citizens is protected. The active role of the GDPR watch-dog continues to ascertain that the privacy of Europeans is protected. 

Sign up or Sign Out? 

The popular messaging app, which serves over two billion users worldwide, stated in a blog post that they are also planning to work a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security work on their platform. 
However, for those in the EU, there is no need to start looking for an alternative messaging platform. It has been confirmed by Whatsapp that there is no changed to WhatsApp’s data sharing practices in the European region. 


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