WhatsApp's data-sharing with Facebook raises privacy concerns
- After Facebook announced last week that WhatsApp would share its mobile data for ad targeting on the social platform, two consumer privacy groups filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), according to Bloomberg.
- The complaints allege that WhatsApp and Facebook are violating the terms of an FTC settlement by asking consumers to opt out of the data sharing, instead of asking them to opt in. The FTC, which is reviewing the complaints, did not comment.
- Regulators in the European Union have also raised concerns about data sharing and privacy, indicating that Facebook faces scrutiny at home and abroad over its move to share WhatsApp's mobile user data for ad targeting.
When Facebook first acquired popular messaging app WhatsApp in February 2014, it assured users that WhatsApp's data privacy policies wouldn’t change. But just last week, Facebook reversed course by announcing it would share WhatsApp's mobile user data with the parent company's social media platform for ad targeting purposes.
The data could help Facebook bring more robust targeting capabilities to its platform. Facebook now boasts a larger mobile messaging audience to reach and a new, largely international audience to target via metadata gathered from phone numbers.