Authorities to investigate changes to how WhatsApp and Facebook handle personal data

Caitlin Morrison
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The commissioner said her office would ensure the companies are being transparent (Source: Getty)

The information commissioner said today that she is looking into changes to the way Facebook and WhatsApp handle customers' personal data.

The messaging service, which was bought by social media giant Facebook in 2014 for $22bn (£16bn), announced yesterday that it was going to allow businesses to message its over one billion users with SMS messages.

Elizabeth Denham, who was appointed Information Commissioner in July, said the changes would affect a lot of people.

"Some might consider it’ll give them a better service, others may be concerned by the lack of control," she said.

“Our role is to pull back the curtain on things like this, ensuring that companies are being transparent with the public about how their personal data is being shared, and protecting consumers by making sure the law is being followed.

“We’ve been informed of the changes. Organisations do not need to get prior approval from the Information Commissioner's Office to change their approaches, but they do need to stay within data protection laws. We are looking into this.”

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