Thursday, March 23, 2023

Meta’s WhatsApp to Comply With EU Rules

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Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) US tech giant Meta’s messaging app WhatsApp has agreed to comply with EU rules following talks with the European Commission.

The EC pointed out in a statement released on Monday that WhatsApp agreed to be more transparent on any changes to its terms of service and make it easier for users to reject updates.

In addition, WhatsApp will inform its users clearly when such rejections would result in them no longer being able to use the service. According to WhatsApp, it does not share user data with other Meta companies or third parties for advertising purposes.

The EC noted that Irish and Swedish consumer protection authorities coordinated the talks with WhatsApp.

Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice, stated “I welcome WhatsApp’s commitments to changing its practices to comply with EU rules, actively informing users of any changes to their contract and respecting their choices instead of asking them each time they open the app.”

“Consumers have a right to understand what they agree to and what that choice entails concretely,” he added and concluded that WhatsApp has to inform its users “so that they can decide whether they want to continue using the platform.”

Authorities to monitor WhatsApp

Talks with WhatsApp started in January last year, when consumer protection organisations warned about unfair practices.

The Consumer Protection Cooperation Network announced it would keep a close eye on WhatsApp’s moves in the future and enforce compliance with EU rules as needed.

The EC reminded that the Digital Services Act sets clear rules for explaining any changes to terms of service to users and complements other EU rules aimed at preventing platforms from manipulating users.

It noted that the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network comprises a group of authorities that enforce EU consumer protection rules and coordinate at EU level to tackle cross-border issues.

This cooperation “applies to consumer rules covering various areas such as unfair commercial practices, e-commerce, geo-blocking, package holidays, online selling and passenger rights,” the body added.

It concluded that recent amendments to EU consumer protection rules improved transparency and increased protection of consumers who buy goods or services online.

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