Following an inquiry, the Irish data protection agency levied a €225m fine – the second-largest in history as of GDPR – and ordered WhatsApp to alter its procedures.
“There are no changes to our processes or contractual agreements with users, and users will not be required to agree to anything or to take any action in order to continue using WhatsApp,” the company said, announcing the change.
The new policy takes effect immediately
Users of WhatsApp complained about a policy update in January that many predicted would result in data being shared with the parent company, now known as Meta. Many people believed that refusing to agree to the new terms and conditions would result in their accounts being shut down. In reality, not much had changed. However, WhatsApp was compelled to postpone its adjustments and devote months fighting against the public perception that changes were harmful.
Hundreds of thousands of people downloaded WhatsApp’s competitors like Signal during the confusion.
WhatsApp addressed those types of worries head-on when discussing the new changes required by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC).
“This update does not change how we process, use or share user data with anyone, including Meta, nor does it change how we operate our service,” it wrote… Users will not be required to agree to anything new or to take any action in order to keep using WhatsApp.”
Much more detailed than the old one
The Irish Data Protection Commission had initially sued WhatsApp in some areas and not others, proposing a fine of between €30 million and €50 million. However, when the Commission consulted with other EU member states’ regulators as part of the procedure, it revised its assessment.
WhatsApp is continuing to appeal the court’s decision, maintaining that it provided all required information to users.