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The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) and the European Network of Consumer Authorities had raised concerns that the changes were not presented clearly and understandably, thereby violating European Union laws.

As a result, the company has now agreed to clarify changes made to EU users’ contracts and explain how these changes could affect their rights. It has also pledged to prominently display the option for users to accept or reject these changes and to ensure that users can easily close pop-up notifications on updates.

Furthermore, WhatsApp has confirmed that users’ personal data is not shared with third parties or other Meta companies for advertising purposes.

Reaction from EU

The EU welcomes WhatsApp’s commitments to comply with EU rules. Commenting on the issue, Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders stated that “consumers have a right to understand what they agree to and what that choice entails concretely, so that they can decide whether they want to continue using the platform.”

The agreement between the EU and WhatsApp will also ensure that the messaging platform explains what changes it intends to make to its users’ contracts in the future and how these changes could affect their rights.

Additionally, the possibility of rejecting updated terms of service will be presented as prominently as the possibility of accepting them.

Pressure on Meta to change

WhatsApp will make its privacy policy changes more transparent, allowing users to dismiss notifications or delay updates and refrain from sending recurring notifications. The announcement comes amid increased regulatory scrutiny of WhatsApp’s parent company, Meta, globally.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission have launched legal proceedings against Meta for alleged breaches of consumer law, while the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is investigating Meta over concerns that the company has a dominant position in the social media market.

WhatsApp and Meta are under pressure to ensure their practices comply with relevant laws and regulations.

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