Whatsapp is making changes to the privacy policy in Europe after it was issued a hefty €225 million fine and ordered to change its policy by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC). 

While Whatsapp is appealing the fine, it is complying with the order to change its policies. Whatsapp reiterates that the changes will not affect the app's actual service. 

The fine was issued in September and is considered the second largest General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fine. The largest GDPR fine in history has been issued to Amazon. 

A proposed update to Whatsapp sparked outrage in Europe early this year over concerns of how user data is being shared, including with Whatsapp's parent company. Many Whatsapp users eventually turned to the app's competitors instead. 

Whatsapp Tweaks Privacy Policy in Europe

Whatsapp is making changes to its privacy policy in Europe as a result of the €225 million fine and order to change its policy made by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC). 

According to a report by the BBC, these changes will only be applicable to the privacy policy in Europe and not the rest of the world. Whatsapp has also emphasized that the changes will not affect the service of the app. 

The changes will "add additional detail around our existing practices" and will take effect immediately. 

"There are no changes to our processes or contractual agreements with users, and users will not be required to agree to anything or to take any action in order to continue using WhatsApp," the company said in its announcement. 

Related Article: Whatsapp Upcoming Privacy Update Sparks Uproar in Brazil; Data Protection and Privacy Rights Among Concerns

The Backlash in Europe

Whatsapp faced backlash from users early this year over "an update to the company's terms that many believed would result in data being shared with parent company Facebook," according to the BBC. Facebook has since rebranded and is now known as Meta.

Many users thought that the new update meant that they had to agree to the new terms and conditions or else their accounts would be blocked. As a result, many Whatsapp users turned to competitors such as Telegram and Signal. 

Whatsapp has been fighting ever since to clear the confusion surrounding the new update. It has also been forced to delay the changes it was planning to make. 

Whatsapp has reiterated that the new update does not change the way it processes, uses, and shares user data, including with its parent company, Meta. The company also emphasizes that users will not be made to agree to anything in order to keep using the app. 

The €225 Million Fine

The €225 million fine was issued in September after a years-long investigation on the app's transparency in regards to its handling of user information, according to the BBC. 

The DPC was initially going to recommend a fine between €30 million to €50 million. The figure was changed after the DPC consulted with the regulators of the other European Union (EU) nations. 

Read Also: Facebook Pauses WhatsApp Data Sharing In Europe Following Serious Concerns Raised By Privacy Watchdogs

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Written by Isabella James

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