FTC approves Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, but warns both companies to uphold promises made

FTC approves Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp, but warns both companies to uphold promises made
The FTC has approved the $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook. The deal still requires approval from international regulators. Along with the approval, the FTC said that Facebook will have to get the "affirmative consent" of WhatsApp users before using their data for advertising. In a letter written to both companies, the FTC's Jessica L. Rich, the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC, warned both companies that they must adhere to promises made to subscribers of WhatsApp before, during, and after the merger announcement.

The promises made include one by WhatsApp indicating that nothing would change after the Facebook acquisition. "Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing …. And you can still count on absolutely no ads interrupting your communication," said an email message to WhatsApp members following news of the $19 billion bid. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg added, "We are absolutely not going to change plans around WhatsApp and the way it uses user data."

The letter from the FTC was sent to Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook, and Anne Hoge, General Counsel at WhatsApp. In the letter, Rich wrote, "WhatsApp's hundreds of millions of users have agreed to use the WhatsApp service and to have WhatsApp collect and transmit their information, with the understanding that these promises will be honored.

WhatsApp members can rest easy, knowing that the FTC has their back in terms of holding Facebook and WhatsApp executives to their word. If WhatsApp wants to change their Terms of Service, the FTC says that it must give members a chance to opt out of any changes, or "at least make it clear to consumers that they have the opportunity to stop using the WhatsApp service."

You can read the letter from Ms. Rich in its entirety, below



source: FTC, Scribd via TechCrunch

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5 Comments

1. MorePhonesThanNeeded

Posts: 645; Member since: Oct 23, 2011

I feel odd not knowing what What's App is. Anyone can condense it into something that explains that absurd $19 Billion price tag.

2. sriuslywtf

Posts: 297; Member since: Jul 09, 2013

Facebook response to FTC: K.

5. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

I think it would look more like this. K... lol #WhereMyLobbystsAt

3. Anshulonweb

Posts: 468; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

19 billion is alot of amount for software that has user base of 400 million...... considering that all these user Pay 1$ a year,it will take 40 years for Facebook to earn what they paid..... I think Facebook purchased Whatsapp not for revenue but for user data....the user data of so many users is worth billions for agencies like NSA

4. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

It's unencrypted, meaning the NSA already owns that data.

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