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Facebook, the worlds largest social network, agreed to acquire mobile-messaging startup WhatsApp Inc. for as much as $19 billion in cash and stock, seeking to expand its reach among users on mobile devices. In this photo, the mobile-messaging application WhatsApp and the Facebook application are displayed along with other apps on an Apple Inc. iPhone.
Privacy groups want to block Facebook's $16 billion acquision of messaging service WhatsApp, saying that it will destroy the app's beloved private features.
Two Internet privacy groups, Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy, made a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission starting that WhatsApp's view on privacy are vastly different than Facebook's, according to MarketWatch.
“WhatsApp built a user base based on its commitment not to collect user data for advertising revenue,” reads the joint complaint. “Facebook routinely makes use of user information for advertising purposes.”
The complaint seeks to stop the acquisition from occurring because Facebook "intends to
incorporate the data of WhatsApp users into the user profiling business model.”
Both Facebook and WhatsApp deny changes to the messaging service. “WhatsApp will continue to operate independently and autonomously,” WhatsApp chief Jan Koum told investors.
“I don’t personally think that ads are the right way to monetize messaging services,” said Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg. According to Koum, WhatsApp already charges its users $1.00 a year for its service, after one year of free texting.
We do think the privacy groups bring up a valid point. The idea of WhatsApp being a pristine, ad-free and non-tracking segment of the Facebook empire doesn't seem likely especially considering that ads already made their way
onto another Facebook acquisition, Instagram.