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WhatsApp Updates EU Privacy Policy after GDPR Penalty

Filip TRUȚĂ

November 22, 2021

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WhatsApp Updates EU Privacy Policy after GDPR Penalty

WhatsApp is adding extra verbiage to its Privacy Policy in Europe after incurring a €225 million fine under European data protection laws. The Meta-owned company made the decision to reconcile with EU watchdogs even as it appeals the penalty.

In September, European legislators fined WhatsApp a hefty €225 million ($254 million) after failing to clarify how certain policy changes would affect data sharing with parent company Facebook (now Meta).

Following intense public backlash, WhatsApp reflected on its policy update and is now rewriting the legal jargon to increase transparency about its practices.

According to the BBC, the tweaks are designed to “add additional detail around our existing practices,” and target European users only.

WhatsApp is appealing the GDPR penalty while it maintains that there are no actual underlying changes to the way it handles data. Rather, it is only changing the wording to ensure the information is conveyed more transparently to end-users.

“There are no changes to our processes or contractual agreements with users, and users will not be required to agree to anything or to take any action in order to continue using WhatsApp,” the company said.

“This update does not change how we process, use or share user data with anyone, including Meta, nor does it change how we operate our service,” it told the press.

The IM service, which serves 2 billion monthly active users globally, also stressed that the app continues to be encrypted end to end, meaning third-parties can’t intercept messages in transit – only the sender and the recipient can read them in plain text.

WhatsApp maintains that it had always provided the required information to its users and will continue to fight the decision taken by European legislators.

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