Privacy Groups Call For FTC Investigation Into Facebook's WhatsApp Acquisition

Facebook’s blockbuster $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp has raised a lot of questions--such as “Why?”--but among those unanswered queries is a concern that Facebook will collect user data for advertising purposes, which some privacy groups argue cuts against expectations that WhatsApp users previously had about what their data would be used (or not used) for.

According to Bloomberg, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy are both calling for the FTC to examine how WhatsApp users’ privacy will be affected by the Facebook acquisition.

Image Source: Flickr (Sam Azgor)

“Facebook routinely makes use of user information for advertising purposes and has made clear that it intends to incorporate the data of WhatsApp users into the user profiling business model,” reads the complaint in part.

It’s a fair question to raise, but it seems that Facebook has answered it. “Facebook’s goal is to bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core Internet services efficiently and affordably -- this partnership will help make that happen,” Jodi Seth, a spokeswoman for Facebook told Bloomberg in a statement.

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