Privacy groups: WhatsApp users don't want Facebook deal

 

WhatsApp users don't want the social messaging service to be acquired by Facebook, privacy groups told the Federal Trade Commission in comments filed Friday, urging the agency to investigate the deal.

The privacy groups — the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy — added to their plea for the FTC to investigate the $16 billion deal from earlier this month, citing comments from around the Internet.

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"WhatsApp users continue to object to the proposed acquisition" and "believe that companies acquired by Facebook will lose the ability to keep user data private," the groups wrote.

They pointed to comments on tech news sites decrying the deal between WhatsApp and Facebook.

The comments quoted one Huffington Post user who said she "will most likely" delete WhatsApp if it is purchased by and integrated into Facebook, because the latter "isn't very big on privacy."

The groups added that the FTC's examination of the deal between Facebook and WhatsApp should be more rigorous than its examination of Google's acquisition of Nest, a company that makes algorithm-based home thermostats. 

That deal "raised substantial privacy concerns for consumers," but the agency "failed to give the matter adequate review," the groups said.

Earlier this month, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum wrote in a company blog post that the acquisition by Facebook will not change the company's data practices and commitment to privacy.

"Respect for your privacy is coded into our DNA, and we built WhatsApp around the goal of knowing as little about you as possible," and the company's "future partnership with Facebook will not compromise the vision that brought us to this point," he said.

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