Facebook could face German intervention over controversial WhatsApp changes

Whatsapp Message Hero
Whatsapp Message Hero (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

What you need to know

  • A German regulator is trying to stop Facebook's recent changes to its WhatsApp data policies.
  • Facebook tried to change WhatsApp's privacy policy earlier this year but was met with staunch backlash.
  • German regulators want an order to stop the changes immediately.

German data authorities are seeking an order to stop controversial changes planned by Facebook regarding its WhatsApp privacy policy.

According to Bloomberg:

One of Germany's toughest data regulators is seeking an administrative order that would stop Facebook Inc. from collecting user data from its WhatsApp unit.The regulator in the city of Hamburg is seeking an "immediately enforceable order" before May 15 over concerns that policy changes could lead to the use of such data for wider marketing and advertising purposes.

Data commissioner Johannes Caspar stated that WhatsApp in Germany is even more popular than Facebook in the country, and is used by over 60 million people, stating it was therefore "all the more important to ensure that the high number of users, which makes the service attractive to many people, does not lead to an abusive exploitation of data power."

In January WhatsApp updated its privacy policy requiring users to share certain information such as their name, IP address, phone number, and contacts with Facebook and its other companies if they wanted to keep using the app.

The measures were met with strong pushback from its user base, eventually leading to WhatsApp delaying but not shelving the move. WhatsApp said it would delay the move until May and take the time to clear up any misinformation about the move.

You can read our full initial report on the planned changes here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9