WhatsApp Adjusts Privacy Policy Following GDPR Fine

WhatsApp has changed its privacy policy with immediate effective, following a €225m (£190m) GDPR fine issued by the Irish data protection watchdog in September.

As well as issuing the fine, the watchdog ordered WhatsApp to change its policies in the UK and Europe, which it is now doing, despite the fact that it is appealing against the fine. The new policy takes effect immediately.

However, in making the changes WhatsApp insisted that its service remains unchanged and that users will not be required to agree to anything or take any additional action in order to continue using the messaging platform. It also reiterated the fact that messages sent via WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted, so can only be read by the sender and recipient.

The new privacy policy contains much more information about what exactly is done with users’ data, and how WhatsApp works with its parent company Meta, which also owns Facebook and Instagram.

The fine that WhatsApp received in September was the result of an investigation that ran over several years into how transparent WhatsApp was regarding the handling of user information. The Irish watchdog originally proposed a fine of €30m-50m, but increased the amount to €225m after consulting with regulators in other EU countries.