Argentina Orders Facebook to Suspend WhatsApp Data Sharing

Argentina has ordered Facebook to suspend its data use policy allowing it to collect information from users of its WhatsApp messaging app, the government announced on Monday.

The suspension will last at least six months and aims to prevent “the abuse of a dominant position,” said a resolution published in the official bulletin.

In the meantime, the national agency that protects personal data and access to public information will lead an investigation into Facebook’s plans.

The tech giant informed WhatsApp users earlier this year that they had to consent to a new data-use policy to continue using the messaging service.

According to the Secretary of Internal Trade, 76 percent of mobile phones in Argentina use WhatsApp.

It said the suspension was necessary as the parent company “enjoys a dominant position in the market through its social media: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.”

The government body added that the data sharing would give Facebook access to user information “at a level that other companies cannot replicate.”

The suspension was necessary, it said, due to the “huge asymmetry between the users and WhatsApp” that would force the majority of individuals to accept the new conditions, allowing the messaging app to “collect excessive personal details” to share with other applications in the Facebook group.

It expressed concern for the potential to exploit users and exclude competitors, and said ultimately that could affect “general economic interests.”

Argentina is not the only country to crack down on Facebook’s attempt to share users’ data between its various apps as the United States, India, Brazil and Germany have also take similar measures.

Related: Germany Halts Facebook Sharing WhatsApp Data

Related: WhatsApp Delays Enforcing New Privacy Terms

Related: South Africa Opposes WhatsApp-Facebook Data Sharing

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© AFP 2020

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