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French watchdog orders WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with Facebook

France's National Data Protection Commission, the CNIL, has given WhatsApp Inc. one month to bring its user data-sharing practices with Facebook Inc. into compliance with the country's privacy laws.

The regulator found that WhatsApp is sharing its users' data with Facebook for "business intelligence" purposes, which violates France's Data Protection Act. It also noted that WhatsApp users must not only give consent to the processing of data on the platform, but also for Facebook's own accessory purposes such as improving its service.

"The only way to refuse the data transfer for 'business intelligence' purposes is to uninstall the application," the CNIL said.

The watchdog also noted that it has repeatedly asked WhatsApp to provide samples of the French users' data that it shares with Facebook. However, WhatsApp refused the request, saying it is based in the U.S. and is only covered by laws in that country.

The CNIL warned it could sanction WhatsApp if it failed to comply within the specified time period.

In August 2016, WhatsApp began sharing user data with Facebook as part of an update to its terms of service and privacy policy. WhatsApp then said the move will allow it control spam and analyze the frequency of usage of its services.

Facebook eventually stopped collecting data from WhatsApp users across Europe for advertising and product reasons, following pressure from EU privacy watchdogs.