WhatsApp fined over $260M for EU privacy violations

Ireland's privacy watchdog says WhatsApp doesn't sufficiently explain how it shares data with Facebook.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
Expertise Erin has been a tech reporter for almost 10 years. Her reporting has taken her from the Johnson Space Center to San Diego Comic-Con's famous Hall H. Credentials
  • She has a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
Erin Carson

WhatsApp is facing a fine from Ireland's Data Protection Commission. 

Angela Lang/CNET

WhatsApp didn't fully explain to Europeans how it uses their data as called for by EU privacy law, Ireland's Data Protection Commission said on Thursday. The regulator hit the messaging app with a fine of 225 million euros, about $267 million. 

Partly at issue is how WhatsApp share information with parent company Facebook, according to the commission. The decision brings an end to a GDPR inquiry the privacy regulator started in December 2018.

WhatsApp said it disagrees with the decision and plans to appeal. "We have worked to ensure the information we provide is transparent and comprehensive and will continue to do so," a WhatsApp spokesperson said via email. "We disagree with the decision today regarding the transparency we provided to people in 2018 and the penalties are entirely disproportionate."

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is a 3-year-old rule designed to protect Europeans' right to privacy.