WhatsApp and Facebook sued over data sharing

WhatsApp’s decision to share account information with Facebook to better target ads is perceived as “unfair or deceptive acts or practices,” according to the U.S.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), cited by Telesurtv.

WhatsApp users were notified of the application’s new privacy policy terms on Thursday. Users have 30 days to accept or reject changes if they want to continue using the messaging service.

Speaking to the New York Times and cited by Telesurtv, Marc Rotenberg, president of EPIC, said it would file a complaint this week with the FTC alleging that WhatsApp and Facebook are violating “Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act and, potentially, the FTC’s order against Facebook,” according to the FTC’s letter in 2014.

“Many users signed up for WhatsApp and not Facebook, precisely because WhatsApp offered, at the time, better privacy practices,” Rotenberg told the newspaper. “If the FTC does not bring an enforcement action, it means that even when users choose better privacy services, there is no guarantee their data will be protected.”

According to The Independent, EPIC said it had filed a complaint against Facebook and WhatsApp in 2014 when the social media giant bought the messaging app for more than US$14 billion, saying the deal would compromise users’ private data despite promises by both companies that “nothing” would change.

Here is cnet’s short guide that can help users opt out and remove themselves from the whole situation very easily:

  • Open WhatsApp on your phone.
  • On Andriod, tap the action overflow button in the upper right corner and select Settings. On iOS, tap the Settings tab in the lower right corner.
  • Select Account.
  • Tap the check mark to the right of Share my account info.
  • To disable the feature, tap Don’t Share.

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