WhatsApp targeted in EU consumer complaints about privacy changes


BRUSSELS, July 12 (Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) WhatsApp faced a barrage of complaints on Monday from the European Consumers’ Organization and others over an update to its privacy policy , which caused a global uproar and led some users to switch to competition. Telegram and Signal applications.

WhatsApp introduced a privacy policy in January that allows it to share certain data with Facebook and other companies in the group.

He said the changes allow users to communicate with businesses and would not affect personal conversations.

The European Consumers’ Organization (BEUC) and eight of its members have criticized the changes and lodged complaints with the European Commission and the European Network of Consumer Protection Authorities, saying WhatsApp was unfairly pressuring users to they accept his new policies.

“The content of these notifications, their nature, their timing and their recurrence put undue pressure on users and infringe their freedom of choice. As such, they constitute a violation of the EU’s Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, ”the groups said in a joint statement. .

“WhatsApp did not explain in clear and understandable language the nature of the changes … This ambiguity constitutes a violation of EU consumer law which requires companies to use clear and transparent contractual terms and commercial communications “, they declared.

Facebook said BEUC got it wrong.

“BEUC’s action is based on a misunderstanding of the purpose and effect of updating our terms of use,” said a spokesperson.

“The update does not extend our ability to share data with Facebook and does not impact the privacy of your messages with your friends or family, wherever they are in the world. We would be happy to have the opportunity to explain the update to BEUC to clarify what it means for people.

Consumer groups urged the European Network of Consumer Protection Authorities and EU data protection authorities to work together to address these privacy and consumer rights concerns.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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