Tech

Facebook And Whatsapp Gets Called Out By Privacy Advocates After Data Sharing Plan

By Dawn Fleming , Aug 31, 2016 03:42 AM EDT
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Facebook and WhatsApp have been called out after EPIC and the Center for Digital Democracy filed formal complaints with the FTC. Both companies are coming under scrutiny for changing their privacy policies, which raised concerns among privacy advocates in the U.S. and Europe.

It wasn't too long ago when Facebook and WhatsApp arranged a merger. Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp, assured its users that they had no plans to change their privacy policy, but recently, they announced that the app will start sharing user's data and various analytics with Facebook.

Rumor has it that nothing can be done about the data-sharing plan between Facebook and Whatsapp. But there is a way to stop it or opt out from it according to Business Insider. The free messaging app justifies the change, and says it will actually be beneficial for its users in locating long lost friends and other people they want to get in touch with again. Privacy advocates vehemently objects and believes that it is unfair and deceptive.

Back in 2014, the group filed a complaint against Facebook for violating its FTC Consent order by failing to obtain users' opt-in consent before changing their privacy practices. Along with that, FTC sent a letter to Whatsapp warning both companies to honor their promises of keeping and respecting their users' privacy. The Wall Street Journal reports that due to Facebook's abuse of its dominance as a social network to collect personal information from its users, privacy watchdogs in France threatened to fine the company if they continue to exploit users' private data.

It is evident that Facebook and Whatsapp devised the data sharing plan to generate more revenue and it irked users who believed that the social network broke their promise concerning the privacy of the networks' wide usre base. As of today, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is reviewing the complaint submitted by the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy. The two consumer privacy groups pointed out that Facebook and WhatsApp violated Section 5 of the FTC act where both companies used a "bait and switch" strategy on users' data.

Facebook and WhatsApp have not released any comment on the FTC complaints filed by EPIC and the CDD. Maybe both companies believe that the complaints are unlikely to gain traction. If that is the case, it is a good thing users still have 30 days left to opt out from the updated terms and conditions.

 

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