Hamburg (dpa) - The Hamburg data protection activist Johannes Caspar wants to put a stop to the use of WhatsApp data at parent company Facebook shortly before a controversial rule change.

Caspar opened a procedure aimed at an order that was immediately enforceable.

He referred to the upcoming introduction of new data protection rules for the chat service in around a month.

"The WhatsApp provisions contain extensive passages with which the service grants itself the right to share user data with other Facebook companies," said Caspar on Tuesday.

Facebook's data protection guideline also provides for general cross-company use and evaluation of data from affiliated companies.

He feared that the new provisions would create additional opportunities for data exchange for marketing purposes and direct mail.

WhatsApp always emphasizes that no extended data transfer to Facebook is planned.

The changes are primarily about creating better ways to communicate with companies.

The so-called end-to-end encryption, with which chat content is only visible in clear text to the participating users, will not be shaken.

A WhatsApp spokesman said the documents from the Hamburg data protection agency would be checked and "misunderstandings" related to the update will be addressed.


The Irish data protection authority at the headquarters of the European subsidiary is generally responsible for Facebook in the EU.

But there is a German branch in Hamburg.

Caspar can therefore "under exceptional circumstances" - which he sees here - open a procedure against Facebook in Ireland, "in order to protect the rights and freedoms of German users".

The measures would initially be limited to three months.

Facebook and WhatsApp rejected the statement that the chat service would share more data with the mother after the rule change was announced in January.

However, the introduction of the new provisions was postponed by more than three months to May 15 following criticism and a migration of users.

As things stand so far, WhatsApp can only continue to be used to the full if you agree to the new rules.

At the same time, WhatsApp itself emphasized that the exchange of messages with companies is structured differently than with family or friends.

“When you communicate with a company via phone, email or WhatsApp, it can use the information from these interactions with you for its own marketing purposes.

This can also include advertising on Facebook, ”it said in an explanation.


Outside the EU, some WhatsApp user data has been sent to Facebook for advertising purposes or to improve products - albeit since 2016.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210413-99-187654 / 2