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Data watchdog seeks urgent meeting with Facebook over plans to merge Whatsapp, Instagram and Messenger

Facebook is said to be planning to integrate its various message platforms, but the Data Protection Commissioner wants clarity.

Image: Shutterstock/BigTunaOnline

THE DATA PROTECTION Commission has said it is seeking a meeting with Facebook, after reports it was planning to merge its messaging services on Whatsapp, Messenger and Instagram.

It said that previous proposals to share data across companies owned by Facebook had caused significant data protection concerns and any merger of these services would have to be compliant with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

The New York Times reported last week that the tech giant planned to integrate its various messaging services.

“We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks,” a Facebook spokeswoman said.

“As you would expect, there is a lot of discussion and debate as we begin the long process of figuring out all the details of how this will work.”

Facebook hopes to get the messaging apps communicating with one another, while remaining separate services, by the end of this year or early next year, according to the New York Times report.

The Data Protection Commission in Ireland, however, has said it requires an “urgent briefing on what is being proposed”.

It said in a statement: “The Irish DPC will be very closely scrutinising Facebook’s plans as they develop, particularly insofar as they involve the sharing and merging of personal data between different Facebook companies.

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.

“It must be emphasised that ultimately the proposed integration can only occur in the EU if it is capable of meeting all of the requirements of the GDPR.”

With reporting from AFP

About the author:

Sean Murray

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