Facebook has paused the sharing of user data between it and WhatsApp across all European Union nations, TechCrunch reported. While this means WhatsApp – which is owned by Facebook – will not share user data for product and advertisement purposes, it will continue to pass on information to tackle spam and for other purposes, the report said.
The move was announced after the United Kingdom’s information commissioner conducted an investigation into the social media company’s new policy. In a blog post, Elizabeth Denham said she was concerned that “consumers weren’t being properly protected” by the new policy. “It’s fair to say the enquiries my team have made haven’t changed that view. I don’t think users have been given enough information about what Facebook plans to do with their information, and I don’t think WhatsApp has got valid consent from users to share the information,” she said.
Several countries have criticised the policy, which included the sharing of its users’ phone numbers with Facebook, along with the features of the device they are using. A German privacy regulator on September 27 had ordered Facebook to stop collecting and storing data of WhatsApp users in the country.
On September 23, the Delhi High Court had asked WhatsApp to remove the data of those users who deleted their accounts before September 25. The petition filed with the high court had said the move compromised the privacy rights of users by modifying the messaging platform’s terms of service in a “deceptive” manner. The litigation had also asked for a directive to be issued to the Centre and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India for the framing of rules to regulate such services.