Italy’s antitrust body today said it was imposing a 3 million Euro fine on WhatsApp for allegedly obliging users to agree to sharing their personal data with its parent company Facebook.
The Italian Antitrust agency said the application led users to believe they would not have been able to continue using the service unless they agreed to terms including sharing personal data.
WhatsApp was taken over by Facebook in the year 2014 and two years later, it introduced new terms of service and privacy policies that gave Facebook (its parent company) access to WhatsApp users’ data.
Italy’s Antitrust Regulator — AGCM — said that “the opportunity for WhatsApp users to refuse the handover of data to Facebook was available `but it was inadequately flagged.”
The regulator also criticised WhatsApp for introducing “unfair clauses” to its term of service, such as giving the company the right to cut off services or start charging customers without warning.
In December, the European Commission, which regulates antitrust matters in the EU, launched an investigation into Facebook’s conduct prior to the WhatsApp buyout.
However, Facebook denied any wrongdoing and promised to explain its actions.
The commission said it could slap a fine of up to 1 per cent of annual turnover, around 280 million dollars, if it is not satisfied by the internet giant’s answers.