What’s up with WhatsApp? Last week, the Facebook-owned (FB) instant messaging service was fined $266m by the European Union. The fine was punishment for failing to disclose to EU residents what the platform does with their data.
WhatsApp was apparently given three months by EU regulators to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation — aka GDPR (European privacy laws) — which requires tech companies to clarify and disclose to users how their data is being used. In WhatsApp’s case, one of the main issues had to do with the phone numbers of nonusers being uploaded to the app when users choose to share their contact info.
A spokesman for WhatsApp indicated the decision will be appealed, stating that they “disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate.”
why it matters
WhatsApp's fine is the second largest handed out since the European Union began enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation back in 2018. The fine represents 0.8% of parent company Facebook's 2020 profit — pretty much a drop in the ocean, still.