Following to a decision from the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, they officially forbad Facebook and WhatsApp to mass-share user data in Germany. The decision becomes effective from today and now Facebook and its popular messaging service will be prevented from automatically sharing data the users on a massive scale without obtaining their approval and it was made in response to a controversial change to the Terms of Service announced last August of both online platforms. This will lead to strong reaction from the general public, privacy watchdogs, and political institutions across Europe, because the company did not achieve the permission from its users to change the Terms of Service when their data is being shared without their approval and when they’ve registered an account with WhatsApp or Facebook, these two particular companies shared data between themselves.
While the Hamburg Commissioner’s ruling is likely blowing Facebook’s efforts to use WhatsApp’s user data for its services, recent reports in earlier this month said that the Menlo Park-based Internet company prepares to resolve the issue with the European Union. However, the German privacy watchdog said the decision was not only made for the protection of 35 million WhatsApp users in Germany but is also considered as a precedent for other European authorities currently carrying out the sharing user data with Facebook issue of WhatsApp.
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This dispute doesn’t threaten Facebook’s upcoming plans for WhatsApp, when the company might also end up paying significant fines for its acquisition of the communications service in 2014 that was approved by authorities in Europe as the company stated they have no intentions of combining the two services or sharing the user’s data between them. However, the Hamburg Commissioner still noted that Facebook is legally able to make a data-sharing program with WhatsApp, only if the company receives consents from its users.