WhatsApp updates privacy policy after record fine

WhatsApp is making changes in its privacy policy with immediate effect, following the €225 million fine handed out in September by Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner.

In September, Ireland’s Data Privacy Commissioner (DPC) fined popular messaging app $266 million (€255 million) over its personal data sharing practices with Facebook, now Meta, and other Meta companies. 

The watchdog initially proposed a fine of between €30 million- €50 million, but after consulting with regulators in other EU countries, increased the amount to €225 million.

In addition to issuing the fine, the watchdog ordered WhatsApp to change its policies in the UK and Europe. Now, WhatsApp is appealing the fine, but is amending its policy in Europe and the UK.

“We know that privacy is a top concern for our users, so we want to be very clear: this update does not change the way we operate our service, including how we process, use or share your data with anyone, including our parent company Meta.” the company said in a statement

The new privacy policy is updated with much more additional information, including how WhatsApp uses data, its global operations, and legal bases for processing. 

First announced in January, the new privacy agreement that mandates data sharing with Facebook companies has faced a great reaction from both users and governments. Users who do not want to accept the new privacy policy have turned to alternatives such as Signal and Telegram, and this trend has led to a significant increase in the number of users of these two WhatsApp competitors.

Written by Maya Robertson

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