WhatsApp users could be about to see their privacy take a major hit thanks to a new announcement concerning its relationship with Facebook.
The social media giant is set to anger WhatsApp users across Europe by finally being able to see information from users of the world’s most popular messaging app with Facebook.
That’s after a senior EU lawmaker revealed that a deal was close to being agreed that would see the two companies finally be able to share information on their users after months of wrangling.
The news was revealed by EU regulator Helen Dixon, who has been overseeing Facebook’s case.
She told Reuters that, “I think we are in agreement with the parties – WhatsApp and Facebook – that the quality of the information provided to users could have been clearer, could have been more transparent and could have been expressed in simpler terms.”
Dixon, who is also Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, added that she hopes a final agreement will be reached this summer.
The news is the latest stage of a long-running discussion between Facebook, WhatsApp, and various regulatory bodies.
Facebook, which bought WhatsApp back in 2014, caused controversy last summer when it announced plans to use information from the app to influence the advertisements displayed on Facebook users’ News Feed.
This included seeing the phone number associated with a WhatsApp account, enabling the California-based social network to link and track users’ profiles between the two services – helping the company gather more data for its advertisements.
Facebook had previously said it would ensure that WhatsApp user data would remain private and separate from the social network.
Speaking during the acquisition, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said: “It would be pretty stupid of us to interfere.”
WhatsApp was sued in a German court earlier this year by customers angry that the app had gone back on its word.