Jan 30, 2017

WhatsApp sued in Europe for sharing phone numbers with Facebook

Tecnomovida Caracas / Flickr Creative Commons

Add this to the list of headaches for Facebook: A German consumer group is suing its messaging subsidiary WhatsApp over the decision to share data —including users' phone numbers — with the social media behemoth.

The big deal: WhatsApp said last summer that it would start sharing users' phone numbers with Facebook. That will allow the social giant to link up WhatsApp accounts with its own massive user base and use that information to better target those Facebook accounts with ads and friend recommendations. It's potentially a boon for the company as it looks to make money off of WhatsApp. But it is also worrisome to privacy groups who say Facebook is violating promises it made when it bought the messaging app.

Why it matters: European regulators take a harder line on privacy issues and they're not happy with WhatsApp's decision to share phone users' phone numbers with Facebook. Europe's competition watchdog is asking questions about the change in policy as it relates to the company's purchase of the messaging platform.

Counterpoint: WhatsApp has long maintained that its policies comply with the law. "They give users a clear and simple explanation of how the service works, as well as choice over how their data is used," a spokesman said in a statement. "The updates also comply with guidelines issued by EU regulators."

Go deeper

Updated 28 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: George Floyd's last words are "a wake-up call for our nation"

Former Vice President Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del. on June 1, 2020. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden is calling George Floyd’s dying words “a wake-up call for our nation,” and criticized President Trump’s decision to unleash tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House, in a civil rights speech from Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Biden in the address drew a sharp contrast between himself and Trump, whose first remarks addressing nationwide unrest Monday highlighted law and order, extreme demonstrations of militarized “strength” and other blustery threats.

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 6,302,318 — Total deaths: 376,322 — Total recoveries — 2,716,924Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 1,812,125 — Total deaths: 105,192 — Total recoveries: 458,231 — Total tested: 17,340,682Map.
  3. Public health: Protests against police brutality threaten coronavirus response.
  4. Business: Coronavirus could lower GDP by $15.7 trillion — More than 1 in 6 black workers lost jobs between February and April.
  5. Climate: The alarm over climate financial risk gets louder because of coronavirus.
  6. Media: Interest in the George Floyd protests has soared past the coronavirus.

The business of tear gas

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

U.S. forces yesterday used tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House gates, prior to a declared curfew, clearing a path for President Trump to visit a riot-damaged church for a photo opportunity.

The state of play: Two of the largest U.S. producers of tear gas are owned by private equity firms, but those firms have no interest in discussing their ownership.