Twitter, Snapchat Probed in France as Facebook Alters User Terms

  • Facebook made changes to terms and conditions in December
  • French case runs with EU, looking at any abusive clauses

French fraud watchdogs are investigating potential abusive clauses in the terms and conditions applicable for users of Twitter Inc., WhatsApp, Alphabet Inc.’s Google + and Snap Inc.’s Snapchat.

Facebook Inc. was the first social platform to come under scrutiny but the Menlo Park, California-based company amended its user terms in December after the watchdogs identified several issues, Nathalie Homobono, who heads the French fraud office, known as DGCCRF, told journalists in Paris Thursday.

Homobono said the investigation is being run alongside the European Commission, which sent letters in January to Twitter, WhatsApp, Google and Snapchat pointing out concerns in their terms and conditions. Some social networks have already sent replies, she said, without specifying them.

U.S. technology giants have come under increased scrutiny in Europe in the last few years with regulators looking at possible violations in areas from antitrust to privacy to tax. The French probe adds to a separate investigation by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office into whether Facebook abused its power as a social network by forcing customers to agree to unfair terms on how their data is used.

Twitter declined to comment. WhatsApp, Google + and Snapchat representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

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