The controversy over WhatsApp’s new terms of use does not come to rest. Now the EU Commission has given the Meta subsidiary an ultimatum to rectify the situation. WhatsApp must therefore adjust its terms of use by July 2022.

WhatsApp had already adjusted its new terms of use in May 2021. But what usually runs under the radar of users in many networks caused a stir at the time.

Originally, the Meta subsidiary had planned that all accounts that did not agree to the new provisions would no longer be able to use the service. However, this caused such a stir that WhatsApp had to backtrack a little later.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp’s new terms of service have caused quite a stir. Now the EU Commission has gotten involved again and given WhatsApp an ultimatum. The Meta subsidiary therefore has until July to improve its terms of use.

What does the EU Commission criticize about WhatsApp’s new terms of use?

The EU Commission has again expressed concerns about WhatsApp’s changed terms of use and data protection guidelines. The problem: These could violate EU consumer protection law.

Therefore, the Meta-daughter should improve and has exactly one month to do so. The EU Commission informed the company about this in a joint letter with the network of national consumer protection authorities.

EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders expressly points out that WhatsApp must adapt the provisions “so that users understand what they are giving their consent to and how their personal data is used”.

It is particularly important that users find out in which form WhatsApp exchanges this data with its business partners.

I reiterate that I expect WhatsApp to be fully compliant with EU regulations to protect consumers and their privacy.

Which points should WhatsApp change in its new terms of use?

The EU Commission and the national consumer protection authorities are demanding that WhatsApp improve three points in particular. First of all, it should be clarified whether WhatsApp informs its users “sufficiently clearly about the consequences of their decision” for or against the approval of the new provisions.

The EU Commission is also interested in whether WhatsApp’s in-app notifications about the changed terms of use and data protection guidelines are appropriate.

Point three relates to the time pressure caused by WhatsApp with its original announcement to shut down services if you do not agree. Because the EU Commission wants to know from WhatsApp whether consumers have “sufficient opportunity” to “familiarize themselves with the new conditions before accepting them”.

What happened until now

As early as January 2022, the EU Commission wrote to WhatsApp and demanded more transparency from the Meta subsidiary.

But the reaction from WhatsApp is not enough for the EU Commission. The company had shown that it provides its users with the required information via in-app notifications or the helpdesk, among other things.

However, this is not enough for the EU Commission. Because this sees the information provided as “insufficient and confusing”. Therefore, WhatsApp must now improve and prove that the terms of use are compatible with EU consumer law.

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