Under the new policy, WhatsApp will share metadata of conversations — transaction data, mobile device information, IP addresses, and other non-personally identifiable information — on how users interact with businesses. This move is tied to WhatsApp’s bigger ecommerce play as well as its super app ambition. Notably, WhatsApp has always shared data with Facebook since the latter acquired it in 2014, but until recently users had the option to opt out of it.
Many Indian users depend on WhatsApp for communicating and it’s irresponsible for WhatsApp to leverage its position in the Indian market to impose unfair terms and conditions, MeitY is reported to have said.
WhatsApp had introduced the policy on January 6, and it was supposed to come into play from February 8, 2021. However, the company decided to delay it till May 15, 2021, after massive backlash from users. Earlier this week, the company informed the Delhi high court that it has rolled out the policy as decided, but will not be deleting the accounts of users who haven’t accepted it for now. The company maintained that it was conforming to Indian IT laws and rules.
However, the central government informed the high court that the policy is in violation of the country’s IT laws, and it has written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg highlighting the same. The central government is currently awaiting a reply from Zuckerberg, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, appearing on behalf of the central government, said.