On August 25 WhatsApp announced a privacy policy change consisting in transfer user data (such as phone numbers, profile data and online status) to Facebook, which purchased the company in February 2014.

The reason of the data-sharing is to help Facebook to target advertisements and friend recommendations and to allow businesses to communicate with users. The messaging service announced that new services are coming and soon users may receive flight status information for upcoming travels, receipts for goods purchased or delivery notifications.

This change will improve the advertisement experience on Facebook and also fight against spam and abuse.

The messaging service has ensured that it won’t sell or share phone numbers to advertisers. Furthermore, data shared with Facebook won’t be posted on the FB social network.

Users have a time limit of 30 days to opt-out the new privacy policy.

The Italian Data Protection Authority said that the new WhatsApp’s privacy policy raise concerns for the protection of the personal data of millions users.  

In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office is focusing on how the new privacy policy will affect British users.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy have complained to the Federal Trade Commission that changes in WhatsApp’s terms and privacy policy break its previous promise that user data collected would not be used or disclosed for marketing purposes.  

The two consumer privacy groups said that the policy changes violate an agency directive following Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp that the company must get opt-in consent from consumers. Instead, under the new policy, the responsibility is on users to opt out of the data transfer.

WhatsApp made a commitment to its users, to the Federal Trade Commission, and to privacy authorities around the world not to disclose user data to Facebook. Now they have broken that commitment", stated Marc Rotenberg, president of EPIC, highlighting that the privacy policy revision violates a federal prohibition.