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FTC Gives Facebook-WhatsApp Deal the Thumbs Up

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Apr 10, 2014, 1:39 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today approved Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp. The FTC said, however, that it will hold both companies to a 2012 agreement Facebook made with the FTC. Together, Facebook and WhatsApp will have to notify consumers and obtain their consent before collecting private information beyond what they allow through the services' current privacy settings. If WhatsApp doesn't follow this proposal, the FTC could find both companies in violation of the law. WhatsApp is a third-party messaging service that allows mobile device users to communicate without using SMS - or text - messages. Instead, WhatsApp passes messages through the phone's data connection. Facebook already offers its own, separate messaging service for mobile devices called Facebook Messages.

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