WhatsApp terms of use: towards more transparency?

Whatsapp Terms Of Use: Towards More Transparency?

Whatsapp Terms Of Use Towards More Transparency

Following requests from the European Union, Meta had to commit to being clearer and more transparent in the changes to the conditions of use of its WhatsApp instant messaging service. Promised swear spit, really?

The European Union continues to bend the digital giants, and it is the turn of Meta, the company that owns WhatsApp instant messaging, to pay the price! As announced in a press release, the EU consumer protection authorities and the European Commission (CPC network) have, following a complaint by the European Bureau of Consumers’ Unions (Beuc) in 2021 against the change in the conditions of use and the policy confidentiality of the application, initiated a dialogue procedure with the firm to ensure that the application was in compliance with consumer protection laws in Europe – in particular the General Data Protection Regulation, the famous GDPR. Here’s what’s changed as a result of the deal.

WhatsApp: terms of use to watch closely

Following this agreement, Meta is committed to making its instant messaging service more transparent in terms of changes to its terms of use. “Consumers have the right to understand what they are agreeing to and what this choice actually entails, so that they can decide if they want to continue using the platform”, explains Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice. The messenger will therefore have to clearly explain to the user what changes will be made to the “contract” between them and how they will affect their rights – but still it is necessary to read the updates to the conditions of use. In addition, the user must have the possibility of refusing the new terms via a button which will have the same visibility as that for accepting. In addition, the messaging service must clearly indicate if, by refusing the new terms, the user loses their access to the messaging system.

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With this agreement, WhatsApp confirms that there is no sharing of personal data with the other applications of the Meta group (Facebook and Instagram) or third parties, to target advertisements, as is the case in other regions of the world. Still, the CPC will actively monitor how Instant Messaging implements its commitments in a future policy update and, where necessary, will ensure compliance with those commitments, even to impose fines. WhatsApp had already been sentenced by the Irish regulator in September 2021 to pay a fine of 225 million euros for having failed in its transparency obligations, in particular on data transfers to other companies in the group. In January 2023, the company was again fined 5.5 million euros due to non-compliance with “its transparency obligations”. We are waiting with curiosity to see if it will keep its new promises…

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