Lawmakers Call on Facebook to Reverse WhatsApp Terms of Service Update

May 11, 2021

Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03) led a group of fellow Congressional Hispanic Caucus members in writing a letter calling on Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to reverse the company’s decision to require WhatsApp users to accept expanded data collection or leave the platform entirely. “We write to respectfully ask Facebook to consider reversing WhatsApp’s decision to update their new terms of service. We believe Facebook is potentially offering a false choice to users across the globe: accept the sharing of metadata with Facebook by May 15th or leave the platform altogether,” the lawmakers wrote. In 2014, EPIC and the Center for Digital Democracy warned the FTC that Facebook incorporates user data from companies it acquires, and that WhatsApp users objected to the acquisition. The FTC responded to EPIC and CDD and told Facebook and WhatsApp 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." The FTC letter noted that "hundreds of millions of users have entrusted their personal information to WhatsApp. The FTC staff continue to monitor the companies' practices to ensure that Facebook and WhatsApp honor the promises they have made to those users." In their letter, the members highlight that pledge and the FTC's statement.

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