Facebook could face challenges by the European Union if it integrates Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger messaging functions, reported CNBC.
The report, citing the Irish Data Protection Commission, reported the DPC said Facebook's proposed integration of the messaging apps can only happen in the EU if Facebook meets all the requirements of GDPR, the new data protection rules for EU member states. Under the General Data Protection Regulation, companies have to inform individuals what they are doing with their data and who they are sharing it with. Consumers have to provide their consent and the companies have to provide more transparency in how the data is used. Penalties of up to $22.87 million or 4 percent of the company's annual global turnover could be levied if the company runs afoul of the rules. The Irish Data Protection Commission is in charge of supervising Facebook for the EU because the social media company's European headquarters is located in Dublin. CNBC reported the commission requested an “urgent briefing” from Facebook Ireland on plans to merge the three messaging services.
Late last week the New York Times reported Facebook was gearing up to integrate the services, reporting Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg was spearheading the change. While each app would remain independent, messages could be sent between the three apps. That would bring together more than 2.6 billion users of Facebook's messaging apps, noted the New York Times in last week's report.
“(We) will be very closely scrutinizing Facebook’s plans as they develop, particularly insofar as they involve the sharing and merging of personal data between different Facebook companies,” the Irish DPC said in the CNBC report. “Previous proposals to share data between Facebook companies have given rise to significant data protection concerns and the Irish DPC will be seeking early assurances that all such concerns will be fully taken into account by Facebook in further developing this proposal.”
Facebook declined to comment to CNBC.