After dialogue with EU consumer protection authorities and the European Commission (CPC network), the WhatsApp committed to greater transparency regarding changes to its terms of service. In addition, the company will make it easier for users to reject updates when they disagree with them and will clearly explain when such rejection will make it impossible to use WhatsApp services. WhatsApp also confirmed that users’ personal data is not shared with third parties or other Meta companies — including Facebook — for advertising purposes. The dialogue was coordinated by the Swedish Consumer Agency and the Irish Competition and Consumer Commission and facilitated by the Commission.

Justice Commissioner Didier Reyders said: “I welcome WhatsApp’s commitments to change its practices to comply with EU rules by actively informing users of any changes to their contract and respecting their choices, rather than asking them every time they open the app. Consumers have the right to understand what they are consenting to and what this choice specifically entails, so that they can decide whether they wish to continue using the platform.”

The CPC network first sent a letter to WhatsApp in January 2022, following a warning from the European Office of Consumer Associations (EOCA) and eight of its member associations regarding alleged unfair practices in WhatsApp’s updates to its terms of service and in the privacy policy. In June 2022, the SPC network sent a second letter to WhatsApp reiterating its request that consumers be clearly informed about WhatsApp’s business model and, in particular, whether WhatsApp derives revenue from commercial policies related to users’ personal data. users. Following discussions between the CPC network, the Commission and WhatsApp, the company has confirmed that it does not share users’ personal data for advertising purposes.

Overview of engagements

For any future policy updates, WhatsApp:

will explain the changes it intends to make to user agreements and how those changes might affect their rights;
will include the ability to decline updated terms of service as prominently as the ability to accept them;
will ensure that notifications informing about updates can be rejected or that checking for updates can be delayed, while respecting users’ choices and not sending repetitive notifications.

Next steps

The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) network will actively monitor how WhatsApp implements these commitments when making any future updates to its policies and, where necessary, will enforce compliance — including through the ability to enforce fines.

In addition, a recent Commission study and the latest CPC investigation into ‘dark patterns’ have shown that many companies use ‘dark patterns’, for example by making it harder to unsubscribe from a service than to subscribe to it. The CPC network, with the support of the Commission, will continue to step up its efforts to tackle these illegal practices where they occur.


The new act on digital services provides, among other things, the obligation for services to have clear terms and conditions, explaining to the user in understandable language when their content or account may be affected by certain restrictions, as well as the obligation application of said restrictions in a diligent, objective and proportionate manner. This act will complement rules such as the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive or the General Data Protection Regulation, ensuring that there is no regulatory loophole that would allow platforms to manipulate the public.

The Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) network is made up of authorities responsible for enforcing EU consumer protection legislation. To deal with cross-border issues, their actions are coordinated at EU level.

National authorities are responsible for enforcing EU consumer protection law. Thanks to the Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation, they have a shared toolbox of powerful powers to detect irregularities and take swift and coordinated action against non-compliant traders.

In addition, the new directive to better enforce and modernize Union consumer protection rules amended existing EU consumer protection legal acts, further enhancing transparency for consumers when shopping online.

The cooperation covers consumer rules in various areas such as unfair commercial practices, e-commerce, geo-blocking, package holidays, online sales and passenger rights.

Athena Papakosta