Facebook puts a pause on data sharing with WhatsApp in the European Union

Christian de Looper
Digital Trends
Facebook puts a pause on data sharing with WhatsApp in the European Union
Facebook has halted data sharing with WhatsApp for the time being after a request from regulators in the European Union. The move follows a report from European privacy watchdog, the Information Commissioner's Office.

European regulators aren’t happy with the data sharing going on between WhatsApp and Facebook. WhatsApp announced earlier in 2016 that it would begin sharing data with Facebook, its parent company — including for advertising purposes. As you might imagine, that decision has been controversial.

Now, it seems as though the move has gotten the attention of European Union regulators and Facebook has agreed to pause the data sharing at the request of the EU. The request comes after an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office, a privacy watchdog.

More: WhatsApp can now transform your videos and Live Photos into GIFs on iOS

Previously, it was thought the pause on data sharing would only apply to the U.K., however, a report from TechCrunch highlights the fact that the pause will affect all of the EU.

It is important to note that WhatsApp users were never forced to have their data shared to Facebook — users were given the option to opt-out of the change in the privacy policy. By default, however, the change was turned on, meaning that those unaware of the update in privacy policy were likely sharing data to Facebook without their knowledge.

Facebook, however, has rejected claims that it is not being clear enough with its arrangement with WhatsApp. According to an interview with TechCrunch, the company has had multiple meetings with the ICO on the issue.

In September, the company was subject to an order from a local protection regulator in Germany to stop sharing data it collects on its users. At the time, Facebook said it would be appealing that order. Since then, we have not heard anything regarding that specific case.

Facebook has long been the subject of privacy concerns, however, it is nice to see the company responding to criticism in a positive way.