Facebook Backs Down from Forced WhatsApp Privacy Changes

June 1, 2021

WhatsApp previously threatened sanctions against users who would not accept the company’s new terms of use with weaker privacy protections, but backed down late Friday after a coalition of groups from around the world protested. Burcu Kilic, digital rights program director for Public Citizen, released the following statement in response: “Thank you for stopping what you never should have started. Now please also undo what you coerced millions of people into accepting.” In 2014, EPIC and the Center for Digital Democracy warned the FTC that Facebook routinelyincorporates user data from companies it acquires and that WhatsApp users objected to the acquisition. The FTC approved the merger but told EPIC and CDD that "if the acquisition is completed and WhatsApp fails to honor these promises, both companies could be in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act and potentially the FTC's order against Facebook."

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