37 contradictions between WhatsApp and its terms and conditions

This is what happens when you do not update your legal terms in 4 years

WhatsApp, the indisputable king of worldwide messaging, is celebrating a curious anniversary: the 7th of July its terms and conditions (Privacy Policy included) turned 4 years without being updated. Yes, they are very outdated.

Bu why is this significative? We have talked about it before, but the important thing to remember is that the terms and conditions are a contract formed by clauses previously established by one the parties (the company), where the other party (the consumer) can only accept them. That means that the user cannot negotiate those clauses, having just the option to accept them or not.

This kind of contract is used by multiple services that regularly need to sign an agreement with a huge amount of users. Those contracts, the terms and conditions, in summary say: “This is what we do, do you take it or not?”

The legal protection for this kind of contracts is more extensive. For example, to protect the users from unfair clauses that could try to impose the user a conduct or an action that they did not have the power to negotiate.

For that reason, the law compels the companies (the parties that usually establish the terms and conditions), to be very clear, transparent and precise about them. In fact, if the user does not have a real chance to read those terms when the contract is being entered into, those clauses wouldn’t be part of it (according to art. 7 a) of the Spanish Ley sobre Condiciones Generales de Contratación).

WhatsApp has been adding new features to the service for the last 4 years. More than a few of them have important effects on the rights of the user, for example its privacy (the blue double check, the VOIP calling service, the buyout by Facebook or the end-to-end encryption of the chats).

However, those and of more aspects of the service are non-existent on the terms and conditions accepted by a user when registering in WhatsApp. In fact, some of the clauses totally contradict what the user can do on the service.

Having said that, let’s take a look at those absences and contradictions.

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