Facing pressure from the Information Commissioner’s Office, Facebook and WhatsApp have suspended their data sharing plans in the UK. The two companies’ August announcement didn’t go down particularly well with app users, prompting fears about what exactly their WhatsApp data would be used for.
Facebook’s promise to “improve experiences across services” through targeted ads apparently wasn’t crystal clear enough.
“I had concerns that consumers weren't being properly protected, and it's fair to say the enquiries my team have made haven't changed that view,” wrote Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham in a post. “I don't think users have been given enough information about what Facebook plans to do with their information, and I don't think WhatsApp has got valid consent from users to share the information.
“I also believe users should be given ongoing control over how their information is used, not just a 30-day window. It’s important that we have control over our personal information, even if services don’t charge us a fee.”