Tuesday March 26, 2019
Home Lead Story Irish Watchdo...

Irish Watchdog Warns Facebook Integration with WhatsApp

WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption -- the hallmark of users' security -- may also go for a toss if Facebook integrates the popular mobile messaging platform with not-that-secure Instagram and Messenger

1
//
Facebook, data, vietnam
This photo shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. VOA

The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has warned Facebook over its planned integration of its chat services — WhatsApp, Messenger and photo-sharing app Instagram, asking the social media giant to provide it with an “urgent briefing” on the proposals.

In a statement, the Dublin-headquartered Irish watchdog said it understood the plan was at a “very early conceptual stage”.

“While we understand that Facebook’s proposal to integrate the Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram platforms is at a very early conceptual stage of development, the Irish DPC has asked Facebook Ireland for an urgent briefing on what is being proposed,” the watchdog said in a statement late on Monday.

“The Irish DPC will be very closely scrutinising Facebook’s plans as they develop, particularly insofar as they involve the sharing and merging of personal data between different Facebook companies,” it added.

The New York Times reported on January 25 that all of the three Facebook apps will support end-to-end encryption but the company was yet to provide a timeline for when this will happen.

Messenger and Instagram would continue to operate as stand-alone apps.

WhatsApp
WhatsApp on a smartphone device.

According to the Irish watchdog, “previous proposals to share data between Facebook companies have given rise to significant data protection concerns and the Irish DPC will be seeking early assurances that all such concerns will be fully taken into account by Facebook in further developing this proposal”.

“It must be emphasised that ultimately the proposed integration can only occur in the EU if it is capable of meeting all of the requirements of the GDPR,” the statement read.

The move could let the social networking giant tout higher user engagement to advertisers, thus, ramping up its advertising division at a time when overall growth has slowed down.

Also Read- After Facebook, Google Disables App That Collects Users’ Data: Report

Facebook has the most users of any other social media platform, and by combining its assets this way, the company could more directly compete with Apple’s iMessage and Google’s messaging services, according to The Verge.

WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption — the hallmark of users’ security — may also go for a toss if Facebook integrates the popular mobile messaging platform with not-that-secure Instagram and Messenger. (IANS)

  • Arthur Bizdikian

    What is the main issue if all of Facebooks companies share and merge data amongst one another ? They already indirectly do that

Next Story

Whatsapp Launches 2nd Leg of ‘Share Joy, Not Rumours’ Education Campaign to Fight Fake News

The first phase of the campaign successfully reached hundreds of millions Indians in both rural and urban areas

0
whatsapp
WhatsApp has made a series of changes, including labeling forwarded messages to inform users when they have received something not from their immediate contacts. Pixabay

Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Monday launched the second-leg of its “Share Joy, Not Rumours” education campaign to encourage the responsible use of its platform ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

In addition to the earlier TV, print and radio ads, the new campaign would educate people on the controls available in WhatsApp so they are empowered to stop the spread of misinformation, the company said in a statement.

whatsapp
The new campaign would educate people on the controls available in WhatsApp so they are empowered to stop the spread of misinformation. Pixabay

The first phase of the campaign successfully reached hundreds of millions Indians in both rural and urban areas, claimed the company, adding that the messaging platform is building on the campaign with a second round focused on supporting a safe election process.

“Proactively working with the Election Committee and local partners for a safe election is our top priority. Expanding our education campaign to help people easily identify and stop malicious messages is another step towards improving the safety of our users,” said Abhijit Bose, Head of India, WhatsApp.

WhatsApp’s digital literacy partners, including DEF and NASSCOM, would share these videos to grow awareness among the people while the print ads are aimed to act as reminders on how to spot, verify and stop sharing of misinformation that can cause harmful outcomes during the sensitive period of polling.

whatsapp
The first phase of the campaign successfully reached hundreds of millions Indians in both rural and urban areas. Pixabay

ALSO READ: Whatsapp will Now Let Users Know How Many Times a Message has been Forwarded

Over the last several months, WhatsApp has made a series of changes, including labeling forwarded messages to inform users when they have received something not from their immediate contacts and set a limit on how forwarded messages can be sent. In addition, WhatsApp bans accounts that engage in unwanted automated activity.

WhatsApp, including other social media firms, will now have to process any request from the Election Commission of India to take down content within three hours during the 48-hour period before voting days. (IANS)