WhatsApp faces EU complaint over 'bombarding' users with new privacy policies

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
(Getty)
(Getty)

Facebook's WhatsApp messaging app faces a European complaint after its allegedly "aggressive" roll out of new terms and services sparked outrage among consumer-rights campaigners.

The updated policy, in effect since May, remains opaque and makes it impossible for users to get a clear understanding of what consequences WhatsApp’s changes entail for their privacy, European consumer association BEUC said in a statement on Monday.

"WhatsApp has been bombarding users for months with aggressive and persistent pop-up messages to force them to accept its new terms of use and privacy policy," Monique Goyens, director general of BEUC, said in the statement. "They’ve been telling users that their access to their app will be cut off if they do not accept the new terms" and remained "deliberately vague" about data processing.

WhatsApp announced the policy changes in January, but was forced to delay its introduction until May, because of confusion and user backlash over what data the messaging service collects and how it shares that information with parent Facebook.

Together with eight of its members, Brussels-based BEUC said it submitted a complaint with the European Commission and the European network of consumer authorities.

The filing urges regulators to open an investigation into WhatsApp’s practices and demand that the terms and services users agreed to "via the contentious practices" shouldn’t be binding on them.

Spokespeople for Facebook and WhatsApp didn’t immediately comment.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
14.76
+0.3%
Rand - Pound
20.25
-0.4%
Rand - Euro
17.32
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.77
-0.4%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.8%
Gold
1,740.93
-1.5%
Silver
22.53
-0.7%
Palladium
1,988.79
-2.0%
Platinum
993.14
-0.9%
Brent Crude
76.19
+2.5%
Top 40
57,643
+1.2%
All Share
64,049
+1.1%
Resource 10
57,254
+0.5%
Industrial 25
82,879
+1.7%
Financial 15
14,317
+1.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
What potential restrictions on unvaccinated South Africans may make the biggest difference to public health, the economy?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Limited access to restaurants and bars
11% - 127 votes
Limited access to shopping centres
15% - 168 votes
Limited access to live events, including sport matches and festivals
26% - 301 votes
Workplace vaccine mandates
48% - 556 votes
Vote