Facebook said a few months ago that users who do not agree to the terms will start experiencing reduced functionality in the app, to the point where it could lead to account deletion. Facebook altered its tone a few days ago, saying that accounts will not be deleted for failing to accept the changes. But the WhatsApp functionality will be crippled significantly if users do not agree to the update. In turn, this could ultimately lead to account deletion anyway.
Johannes Caspar, who leads the HmbBfDI, said the update isn’t legal, as reported by CNBC. The three-month emergency order he signed is supposed to prevent Facebook from processing WhatsApp data from Germany.
Caspar said that recent Facebook privacy-related issues like the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the hack that affected more than 500 million users “show the scale and dangers posed by mass profiling” and that profiles can be used to manipulate democratic decisions.
A Facebook spokesperson told CNBC that Germany’s order is “based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose and effect of WhatsApp’s update and therefore has no legitimate basis.”
“Our recent update explains the options people have to message a business on WhatsApp and provides further transparency about how we collect and use data,” the spokesperson continued. “As the Hamburg DPA’s claims are wrong, the order will not impact the continued roll-out of the update. We remain fully committed to delivering secure and private communications for everyone.”