WhatsApp facing 50 million euro fine

Get a free Techzine subscription!

WhatsApp may face one of the biggest GDPR fines ever. The European Union is investigating whether the chat app broke any laws by not providing enough transparency about what happens to the data in the app.

The fine could be between 30 and 50 million euros, writes Politico. According to the prosecutors, WhatsApp needs to be more open about what data the chat app shares with Facebook. WhatsApp may also be required to change the way it handles data.

Because Facebook is based in Ireland, the Irish privacy watchdog is taking the lead in bringing the charges. The watchdog has not responded to questions from Politico and a spokesperson for WhatsApp says it is waiting for the company’s final decision.

New privacy terms

WhatsApp was in the news recently when the chat app came out with new privacy terms. The terms gave the app more freedom to exchange data with Facebook. In the European Union, the new terms were less drastic, as the chat app has to comply with stricter privacy rules. Nevertheless, the new rules caused a great deal of dislike for WhatsApp. Many users switched to Signal, which saw its user base double in just a few days.

77.5 million euros set aside

Facebook is in any case prepared for a fine. In November, the company set aside 77.5 million euros in anticipation of a fine for WhatsApp. The company already anticipated a fine of somewhere between 35 and 105 million euros soon.

A final decision on how large the fine will ultimately be will take some time. Politico does not expect to see this until later this year. At that time, it will also be known whether WhatsApp will have to further refine its privacy policy.

Tip: Twitter to be fined by Ireland for violating GDPR