WhatsApp, part of Meta, is violating the privacy rights of its users, as users are not adequately informed about the processing of their personal data by WhatsApp. For this, WhatsApp has already been fined no less than €225 million by the Irish data privacy authority on August 20, 2021. However, WhatsApp is still violating the privacy and consumer rights of its users. Several European consumer protection organizations therefore filed a joint complaint with the European Commission (“EC“) about WhatsApp last year. This was because WhatsApp had inappropriately pressured its users to accept its new user and privacy terms, without making these terms transparent and understandable for them. Following this complaint, the EC took action together with the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network. They sent letters with information requests to WhatsApp and gave WhatsApp until July 2022 to provide a clarification on certain points.
TBYP is also taking action against WhatsApp to stop the violation of privacy rights. Early 2022, TBYP sent a letter to WhatsApp as a first step, with the aim of gathering more information and to invite WhatsApp to enter into discussions with TBYP. Among other things, TBYP asked what types of personal data are being shared with the various Meta entities and on what basis, and what the revenue model of the (free) app is. It was a long time coming to receive a substantive response to our letter from WhatsApp. Unfortunately, their letter barely provided the answers to our questions. Overall, their response offers none to little comfort that the rights of Dutch WhatsApp users are safeguarded.
TBYP looks forward to seeing WhatsApp’s response to the EC’s follow-up questions, which is expected soon. TBYP is currently considering further steps against WhatsApp.