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WhatsApp privacy policy update faces CCI antitrust probe

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India’s competition authority on Wednesday commissioned an investigation into an update to WhatsApp’s privacy policy, saying the messaging service, owned by Facebook Inc, had violated antitrust laws.

The update, announced in January, which will take effect in May, allows WhatsApp to share some user data with Facebook and its blocks, prompting a global response, including in India, the largest market with more than 500 million consumers.

The 21-page antitrust order came as WhatsApp expanded its digital payment services to millions of Indians.

The Competition Commission of India said WhatsApp had infringed competition law “through its exploitative and exclusive behavior … in the guise of updating policy”.

He ordered the investigating unit to launch a probe and submit a report within 60 days. Such probes usually take several months.

Sharing data on WhatsApp in a way that is “neither fully transparent nor based on the voluntary and specific consent of the user” seems unfair to users, the security guard added.

The regulator said WhatsApp had told it that the policy update did not raise concerns about competition law.

WhatsApp said in a statement that it would commit to the commission, noting the company’s commitment to protecting encryption and ensuring transparency about how new business features work.

WhatsApp previously said the changes only involve user interaction with the business.

In India, users concerned about privacy have downloaded competing applications such as Signal and Telegram, according to data from research companies.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


Does WhatsApp’s new privacy policy mean the end of your privacy? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts,, Google Podcasts, or RSS,, download the episodeor just press the play button below.

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