European consumer advocacy groups stand against WhatsApp

WhatsApp is the target of European consumer associations regarding changes to its privacy policy. They blame the popular messaging app for exerting unfair pressure on users to accept its new policies.

Facebook’s WhatsApp has been the subject of an avalanche of criticism following an update to its privacy policy. In January, WhatsApp introduced a privacy policy that allows it to share certain data with Facebook and other companies in the group.

The European Bureau of Consumers’ Unions (BEUC), as well as several of its members, lodged a complaint on Monday with the European Commission for “multiple violations of the rights of consumers in the European Union”, they said in a statement. communicated. “For several months, WhatsApp has been putting undue pressure on its users to accept its new terms of use and its privacy policy. However, these conditions are neither transparent nor understandable for the users ”, affirms the collective.

WhatsApp still popular, according to App Annie

“The content of these notifications, their nature, timing and recurrence put undue pressure on users and infringe their freedom of choice. As such, they constitute a violation of the European Directive on unfair commercial practices ”, add the complainants.

In addition, BEUC also underlines the opacity of the new conditions and the fact that “WhatsApp has failed to explain in clear and intelligible language the nature of these changes”. According to BEUC, it is “fundamentally impossible for consumers to clearly understand the consequences of changes made by WhatsApp on their privacy, especially with regard to the transfer of their personal data to Facebook and to other third parties”.

BEUC recalls that WhatsApp’s privacy policy is also subject to review by European data protection authorities for violation of European data protection law. BEUC calls on data protection authorities to speed up their investigations.

Despite criticism of WhatsApp, the success of this messaging application, owned by Facebook, has not been denied. According to App Annie, which has just delivered its figures for 2020, if Twitch, Discord, Snapchat and TikTok are very successful among young people, WhatsApp still remains the champion in all categories with regard to the application concentrating the greatest number of monthly active users in France.

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