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Monday, April 14, 2014

US Federal Trade Commission reminds Facebook of its privacy obligations as WhatsApp acquisition progresses

Facebook and WhatsApp have received a letter from the US Federal Trade Commission reminding them about user privacy.

In February, Facebook announced that it was planning to acquire messaging service WhatsApp in a deal worth $16 billion (£9.6 billion).

Both companies have previously said that nothing will change for customers, with WhatsApp continuing to operate as a separate business.

However, Jessica Rich - director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection - has highlighted the importance of this commitment in a letter to the two companies.

She wrote “We want to make clear that, regardless of the acquisition, WhatsApp must continue to honor these promises to consumers. Further, if the acquisition is completed and WhatsApp fails to honor these promises, both companies could be in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act and, potentially, the FTC’s order against Facebook.”

An FTC complaint against Facebook in 2011 was settled after Facebook agreed a number of privacy-related commitments.

[FTC letter (pdf)]

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Author: The Fonecast
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