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WhatsApp criticizes Apple privacy labels as anti-competitive

Apple's iMessage service isn't subject to the same requirements, making it difficult for people to compare the apps directly.

Angela Lang/CNET

WhatsApp on Wednesday took issue with Apple's requirement that companies submitting apps to the App Store highlight any user data they collect for its privacy labels. The Facebook-owned messaging service said the requirement is anti-competitive because you don't see any labels for Apple's iMessage service, since it's preinstalled on iPhones, as previously reported by Axios.

"Our teams have submitted our privacy labels to Apple but Apple's template does not shed light on the lengths apps may go to protect sensitive information," a WhatsApp spokesperson said in a statement emailed to CNET. 

"While WhatsApp cannot see people's messages or precise location, we're stuck using the same broad labels with apps that do. We think labels should be consistent across first and thirty party apps as well as reflect the strong measures apps may take to protect people's private information."

In an email to CNET, Apple noted that the privacy requirements apply to iOS apps as well, and that apps without dedicated product pages on the App Store, like iMessage, will still have the new same privacy information available to view.

Apple's labels were introduced at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, to let you know how much data apps request before they download them. The feature will show you those labels in two categories, on "Data Linked To You" and "Data Used to Track You." 

See also: 12 of the best hidden WhatsApp features you need to know