WhatsApp issued EU ultimatum over data use

Whatsapp Group Message on iPhone X
Whatsapp Group Message on iPhone X (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz/iMore)

What you need to know

  • The EU has told WhatsApp it must clarify with customers how their data is used.
  • It follows controversial changes made to its privacy policy in 2021.
  • The EU Commission says WhatsApp has until the end of February to figure it out.

The EU Commission has told WhatsApp it has until the end of February to address concerns raised by changes to its privacy policy in 2021, and that it must better inform users how their data is being used.

The Commission stated this week that it had sent a letter to WhatsApp seeking clarification regarding changes it made to its terms of service and privacy policy in 2021. You may or may not recall that WhatsApp made a controversial decision to change its policy so that users of WhatsApp would have to share their data with Facebook, eventually delaying the move because of backlash. Regardless, WhatsApp remains one of the best iPhone apps available for messaging across platforms and other nations.

Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders said that WhatsApp "must ensure that users understand what they agree to and how their personal data is used, in particular where it is shared with business partners. I expect from WhatsApp to fully comply with EU rules that protect consumers and their privacy", stating that the company had until the end of February to come back with "concrete commitments" about how they will address concerns.

The EU's European Consumer Organisation and the Commission want WhatsApp to explain how it complies with EU data law, and whether "sufficiently clear information is given to consumers on the consequences of their decision to accept or decline the company's new terms of service", as well as whether WhatsApp's in-app notifications prompting consumers to accept new terms are fair. The Commission said it was also "concerned" about the exchange of data between WhatsApp and third-party companies as well as Facebook.

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