Tuesday 8 November 2016 10:13 am

Facebook's in more trouble with the UK data regulator over WhatsApp plans

Facebook has run into more trouble with the UK's data regulator over plans to share personal data from WhatsApp and has "paused" things as a result.

The social media giant plans to monetise the hugely popular messaging app by letting businesses communicate with users. This will involve WhatsApp data being shared with Facebook, however, that could yet be derailed by the privacy concerns of authorities who are closely scrutinising plans.

The UK's data regulator raised concerns about the move over the summer, and after doing a little more digging it has not changed its mind.

Read more: Say 'allo to Allo – Google's WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger rival

The Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in an update: "I had concerns that consumers weren’t being properly protected, and it’s fair to say the enquiries my team have made haven’t changed that view.

"I don’t think users have been given enough information about what Facebook plans to do with their information, and I don’t think WhatsApp has got valid consent from users to share the information. I also believe users should be given ongoing control over how their information is used, not just a 30 day window"

The Information Comissioner's Office (ICO) has now asked Facebook to provide assurances by giving customers a better explanation as to how its shared and giving them greater control.

Facebook have not yet agreed to that and the ICO warned it could face potential enforcement action if it wer to proceed without getting users' consent to share data.

Read more: WhatsApp and Facebook's handling of personal data to be investigated

"We’ll keep pushing on this, both from our office and alongside other data protection authorities across Europe, notably the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, where Facebook’s EU headquarters are based," said Denham.

Facebook also faces a similar backlash from Europe. The Article 29 Working Party – a collective of the data groups of EU countries – last month requested that it pause the plans across the region.

It is due to discuss the issue at a meeting of the group in the coming weeks.

Facebook also wants to let businesses reach users through Facebook Messenger, however, that is not subject to scrutiny as users have signed up directly to Facebook.