Facebook Inc (FB): Privacy groups want to block WhatsApp acquisition

Posted Mar 7, 2014

When Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) announced it was acquiring WhatsApp for $19 billion, it was expected that there would be some opposition. A privacy advocacy group is asking regulators at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to block the deal. The advocacy group wants to get a better idea of what Facebook plans to do with the private data of the existing members of WhatsApp.

Even though WhatsApp resisted a data collection model, there are concerns that Facebook may have something else in mind. Facebook and WhatsApp said that nothing will be changed though.

The complaint is asking for ?specifically with regard to the ability of Facebook to access WhatsApp’s store of user mobile phone numbers and metadata.?

Facebook responded to the filing by saying:

“As we have said repeatedly, Whatsapp will operate as a separate company and will honor its commitments to privacy and security.”

When Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion, the company promised to leave the business run as-is, but the privacy policies were changed later on. Now Instagram reportedly targets users based on age and gender for selling video ads.

[Source: SG]