Germany moves to delete WhatsApp data collection plans
The German regulator may seek an injunction against WhatsApp's new terms of service before the European Data Protection Board
Germany has moved in with an intent to prevent Facebook from enforcing its new terms of services scheduled to come into effect from the middle of May this year. An announcement to this effect was made by the German regulator in Hamburg last week.
Facebook had announced in January 2021 that WhatsApp users in Europe must consent to data sharing between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies by mid-May. WhatsApp currently uses customers' data only for product improvement, analysis and network security. Facebook intends to use customers' data for marketing and direct advertising, which is being resisted by users in several countries.
Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the German regulator may seek an injunction against WhatsApp's new terms before the European Data Protection Board.
This is the second major regulatory action initiated by German authorities against Facebook since 2016 when Germany had ordered Facebook to halt sharing data between WhatsApp and other Facebook companies.
Facebook had challenged that order, which was upheld in trial and appellate courts. However, starting in 2019, Facebook began a contentious exercise of integrating the messaging functions between three of its popular social media tools -- Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has since justified its new terms of service saying there was a need to share data to facilitate the cross-app messaging. German authorities, however, disagreed with this claim and feel that it will result in that data being subject to those platforms' terms of service, which allow for the use of users' personal information for marketing and advertising.