What is Mobile Marketing 2 0

Mobile Marketing: Advertising on WhatsApp - or would you rather not?

Advertising on WhatsApp raises privacy issues

But companies should also wait for another reason - at least with the use of larger resources for advertising on WhatsApp. Because the urgency of the question of how thin ice you are on in terms of data protection law arises from several imponderables:

1. WhatsApp's much-vaunted end-to-end encryption means only protection of the message content anyway, but not the identity of the users involved. Now content protection has also come up for discussion. Of all things, Facebook itself should be able to read WhatsApp chats, the developer Gregorio Zanon found out. That doesn't bode well.

2. But the use of WhatsApp Business, which is not yet directly used for advertising, is problematic in terms of data protection law, the DeutscheHandwerksZeitung has analyzed. After that, users are largely positive about communicating with companies via WhatsApp. But that doesn't automatically make it legal. In principle, no other rules apply to data access than for private accounts. For example: “You regularly provide us with the phone numbers of WhatsApp users and your other contacts (!) In your mobile phone address book. You confirm that you are authorized to provide us with such telephone numbers so that we can offer our services. ”Anyone who has even briefly dealt with how difficult it is to comply with the new GDPR, easily suspects that already conflicts are inevitable here. Since the details of the implementation of the GDPR are only gradually emerging, surprises can also arise, for example when fulfilling the information obligations (here: What does WhatsApp do with your data?).

3. “Do all Facebook pages now have to be closed?” Asks attorney Thomas Schwenke, referring to other online services such as WhatsApp in particular. The reason: The European Court of Justice has just decided that not only Facebook is liable for data protection violations by platforms like Facebook, but also the site operator. In any case, this applies if the site is not used solely for personal or family purposes. Lawsuits, copyright violations, warnings, fines, prohibitions - everything that could already quickly become expensive is now a gateway for adversity via Facebook and Co. Schwenke hopes that Facebook will react to the new challenge and get its actual, namely commercial, customers out of the line of fire, but that is not yet certain. Details also depend on how the Federal Administrative Court (which first moved the case to Luxembourg) implements the ruling of the ECJ.

Conclusion: Find out about the risks!

Subject to professional legal advice in individual cases, Schwenke also sees no need to unplug all social media accounts immediately. However, it is obvious that it would be highly risky to make advertising on WhatsApp and the use of the WhatsApp business account a mainstay of online marketing. Still, given the platform's tempting potential reach, companies should keep this iron on fire and watch it evolve.

Michael Praschma is a copywriter, editor and editor. He masters such different genres as advertising text, direct marketing, claims, web text, ghostwriting, manuals or PR. He is also active - writing and otherwise involved - in journalism, non-profit organizations and the cultural sector. His customers come from a wide variety of industries. At Heise RegioConcept, he appreciates the opportunity to get to the heart of what blog visitors are interested in with his own research.