On April 10, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission announced that the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection had notified Facebook and WhatsApp Inc., reminding both companies of their obligation to honor privacy statements made to consumers in connection with Facebook’s proposed acquisition of WhatsApp.
In a letter to the companies, Bureau Director Jessica Rich wrote, “WhatsApp has made a number of promises about the limited nature of the data it collects, maintains, and shares with third parties – promises that exceed the protections currently promised to Facebook users. We want to make clear that, regardless of the acquisition, WhatsApp must continue to honor these promises to consumers.”
The letter further noted that the companies could be in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act if WhatsApp fails to honor its promises after the acquisition is completed, and that Facebook also may be in violation of the FTC’s 2012 order against Facebook, which settled allegations from the FTC that Facebook deceived consumers by making false privacy promises.
Read the related post on the FTC’s Business Center Blog.