WhatsApp fined $266 million over data transparency screw-up

Luxembourg - Facebook-owned WhatsApp has a huge fine coming its way in Europe after it inappropriately handled user data.

WhatsApp didn't correctly handle user and non-user data says the EU (stock image).
WhatsApp didn't correctly handle user and non-user data says the EU (stock image).  © 123RF/ diego_cervo

WhatsApp was found in violation of European Union data protection law according to the Irish Data Protection Commission says Bloomberg.

The platform was in direct violation of data handling laws for both users and non-users, and also violated laws in sharing data with the other companies belonging to Facebook.

WhatsApp faced an onslaught of criticism earlier in the year when it is unclear data privacy requirements made users concerned that their information or chat content was going to be shared with Facebook and resulted in many removing the app altogether.

The company then launched a quirky ad campaign focusing on encryption and touting the security of their chat platform.

9To5Mac says that WhatsApp has no other option except to "take remedial action to bring its data processing communication into compliance."

This means that the platform has to provide information upfront to users about how they can officially "lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority" when they think the company isn't treating their data correctly.

Facebook already faced a $650 million settlement after violating privacy laws in the US earlier this year.

Cover photo: 123RF/ diego_cervo

More on the topic Facebook: