South Africa’s Information Regulator (IR) has on Wednesday, stopped Facebook Inc from sharing contacts’ information on WhatsApp to its other properties including Messenger and Instagram without obtaining authorisation from it.
Facebook Inc, owners of WhatsApp got in the news again as its data privacy commitment became a subject of criticism after revealing it will share user information with its other social media entities.
The move has generated debates in most African countries with South Africans and Nigerians especially switching to other social media television-messaging applications like Telegram and Signal.
The regulator said WhatsApp cannot without obtaining prior authorisation from it, process any contact information of its users for a purpose other than the one for which the number was specifically intended at collection.
IR said WhatsApp’s aim is to link the information gotten with those processed by other Facebook companies.
The IR is operating within the ambit of section 57 of the Protection of Personal Information Act, South Africa’s data protection law.
The regulatory agency has also written to Facebook Inc. South Africa to express its displeasure with data protection policies.
Africans have complained about the dissimilarities between Facebook’s data protection in Africa and Europe, with European nations being offered better protection by the company.
South Africa is one of the first African countries to react to the suspected breach in data protection.