Though Facebook gave users a limited time to opt out, doing so only stopped WhatsApp from sending data to Facebook for 'ads and product experiences' / Getty

The highly controversial plans were announced and suspended last year

Facebook is close to agreeing a deal that would allow it to start using data gathered from WhatsApp users.

The social network bought the messaging app for $19 billion back in 2014, and initially claimed it would keep user information for the two services separate.

However, Facebook went back on its commitment last year by making changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy and announcing its hugely controversial data-sharing plans.

Helen Dixon, Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner and the lead EU regulator on privacy issues for Facebook, has now said that she hopes a final agreement will be reached this summer.

“I think we are in agreement with the parties – WhatsApp and Facebook – that the quality of the information provided to users could have been clearer, could have been more transparent and could have been expressed in simpler terms,” she told Reuters

“We are working towards a solution on that.”

Though Facebook gave users a limited time to opt out, doing so before the deadline only stopped WhatsApp from sending data to Facebook for “ads and product experiences”, and not a number of other agreements. 

The data-sharing plans were suspended in November, and the European Commission said Facebook “intentionally or negligently” submitted “misleading information” ahead of its WhatsApp takeover.

“We respect the Commission’s process and are confident that a full review of the facts will confirm Facebook has acted in good faith,” was Facebook’s response.

Facebook holds a huge amount of information on its users, including locations, activities and everything it's managed to learn from posts and friends, which can be downloaded through the site's Settings menu.  

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