On Wednesday, the Texas attorney general announced a far-reaching antitrust case against Google’s ad business. The complaint makes a lot of eye-opening allegations, including a long-running conspiracy between Google and Facebook to defuse the threat of header bidding, but one of the strangest allegations had to do with WhatsApp. According to the complaint, Google made a deal with Facebook to access millions of private messages, and photos from WhatsApp users, shortly after the app was acquired.
The specific allegation comes 57 pages into the complaint. The passage is heavily redacted, but it unmistakably alleges an exclusive agreement between Google and Facebook, granting Google access to users’ WhatsApp messages.