about privacy constitutes a deceptive practice under Section 5
addition, the FTC has made clear that, absent affirmative express consent by a consumer, a company cannot
materially inconsistent with promises made at the time the data was
collected, and that
data could be
unfair practice under Section 5.
used for advertising purposes
a third party for commercial
without the users' consent. Facebook's purchase
nullify these promises and WhatsApp and Facebook would continue to be bound
them. Further, Facebook has recently promised consumers that it would not change the
WhatsApp uses customer information. Therefore, any
subscriber information that violates these privacy promises, by either WhatsApp
Facebook, could constitute a deceptive or unfair practice under the FTC Act. Moreover, such
action could violate the
order against Facebook. Among other things, the Order enjoins Facebook and its subsidiaries from
which they maintain the privacy or security
consumers' personal information and requires Facebook and its subsidiaries to obtain consumers' affirmative express
consent before sharing their nonpublic information in a manner that materially exceeds any
privacy setting. Before changing WhatsApp's privacy practices
connection with, or following, any
acquisition, you must take steps to ensure that you are not
use data collected by WhatsApp
a manner that is materially inconsistent with the promises WhatsApp made at the time
obtain consumers' affirmative consent before doing so. Second,
any manner the extent to which you maintain,
plan to maintain, the privacy or security
WhatsApp user data. Failure to take these steps could constitute a violation
Section 5 and/or the
order against Facebook.
you choose to change
you collect, use, and share newly-collected WhatsApp data,
recommend that you offer consumers
opportunity to opt out
such changes or,
least, that you make clear
consumers that they have
opportunity to stop using the WhatsApp service.
In re Gene/ink Inc
. 1123095 (20 14) (proposed consent order),
Decision and Order, No. C-4351 (20 12),
In re Twitter Inc.
Decision and Order, No. C-4316 (2011),
See In re Facebook Inc.
Decision and Order, No. C-4365 (2012),
In re Gateway Learning Corp.
Decision and Order,
. C-4120 (2004),
3047 gateway-learning-corp-matter. Violation
the order could subject the company to civil penalties
up to 16,000 per violation.