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WhatsApp for Work – Are you GDPR Compliant?

WhatsApp for Work – Are you GDPR Compliant?
10 June 2022
 

Whilst most property professionals believe their customer communications are GDPR compliant, the vast majority are failing when it comes to using instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp.

Instant messaging, specifically via WhatsApp, represents a grey area when it comes to consenting to the use of personal data.

But the messaging platform is fast becoming the primary method of communication for many, with almost a third (28 per cent) of property professionals surveyed admitting to using the app when communicating with their customers. 

When doing so, just 15 per cent are using the WhatsApp Business application, with 77 per cent using the regular app and 8 per cent using a mix of the two. 

 

WhatsApp Business Use Not Automatically GDPR Compliant

 

Research by YourBusinessNumber shows that 14 per cent of property professionals believe that using WhatsApp Business automatically makes them GDPR compliant, which isn’t the case.

WhatsApp developed its business-facing app to make GDPR compliance easier and unlike the regular app, WhatsApp Business doesn’t request access to a user’s contact information. It also allows businesses to provide an initial double opt-in or a second automated message requesting consent while providing information such as the company’s privacy policy. 

However, these steps need to be deliberately implemented by the business and they must also include other requirements, such as allowing consumers the right to be forgotten, while keeping a record of all data obtained. 89 per cent of those surveyed stated their company did not record any of the personal data being obtained via WhatsApp. 

It’s also important to note that to be fully compliant, there must be a specific reference to WhatsApp communications within a company’s GDPR policy, but doing so does not make a business compliant across other communication channels. 

In YourBusinessNumber’s research, 60 per cent of property professionals stated their company’s opt-in consent did not specifically include the use of WhatsApp communications.  Half of those surveyed also stated that they did not provide an initial welcome message via the app clearly explaining how they use data or providing an opt-in option. 

40 per cent also stated they did not carry out these communications via a secure device, a secure network, or both.

George Lineker, Co-Founder of YourBusinessNumber, commented:  “It’s fair to say that WhatsApp is becoming our second, unofficial inbox and it’s the preferred method of communication for many customers and working professionals alike. So much so that they’ve created a business offering to better service this growing demand and to better enable GDPR compliance. At the same time, they now prohibit the use of their regular app for business purposes, which is a factor that many users may be unaware of.”

Picture: a photograph of the WhatsApp logo. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 10 June 2022

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