Facebook pauses WhatsApp data collection in Europe

Facebook pauses WhatsApp data collection in Europe
© Greg Nash

Facebook is suspending its collection of WhatsApp user data used for advertising across Europe. 

The move comes in the face of pressure from watchdog and civil liberty groups and pending investigations on data protection violations from several European countries including the U.K., Germany, France and Italy reports The Financial Times. Europe’s data protection agency group also slammed WhatsApp’s data collection practices in an open letter last month.

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The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company had previously halted its WhatsApp data collection in the United Kingdom after pressure from British authorities.

“I don’t think users have been given enough information about what Facebook plans to do with their information, and I don’t think WhatsApp has got valid consent from users to share the information,” said Elizabeth Denham, U.K. information commissioner, in a statement this month.

Facebook confirmed to reporters that it had stopped collecting data for advertising since last week, and was having conversations with officials on the matter.

“We hope to continue our detailed conversations with the UK Information Commissioner’s Office and other data protection officials, and we remain open to working collaboratively to address their questions,” said Facebook.

Facebook purchased WhatsApp in 2014, but had only started collecting data the app in August of this year. The messaging app had previously been been reputed as secure, encrypted method of communication.