It was 2014 when Facebook made the $19 billion deal to purchase the messaging app know as WhatsApp. At the time of the initial purchase, Facebook agreed that user information would not cross the line between the two entities, but rather that they would remain separate.
With changes set to take affect very soon, Facebook’s lead EU regulator for issues involving privacy, Helen Dixon, stated that she hoped a final agreement would become final by the summer of 2017. She stated to Reuters that information that users received could have been clearer and more transparent, or that it could have been cited in terms that were simpler. She also said that they are currently working on a solution that will be pleasing to all parties involved.
It is true that Facebook did give users an amount of time to opt out. However, beating that particular deadline would only mean that user data would not be used for “ads and product experiences”. Other agreements would not be affected by users opting out.
Plans that shared data were suspended in November 2016, with the European Commission stating that Facebook had submitted misleading information negligently before taking over WhatsApp. Facebook’s response was that they were confident that a full-facts review would show that they acted with nothing but good faith.
The amount of information that Facebook has on its users is huge. Types of information held include activities, locations and everything to be learned from each and every post. WhatsApp was even sued recently, in a German court, because the app had gone back on the original wording and intent that was first issued.
Up to this point, Facebook has been unable to use the information gleaned from these accounts. They are currently under investigation by their European regulator, hoping to reach a deal that will allow it.