Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, appearing on behalf of the central government, highlighted that the government had written to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and has been awaiting a reply, therefore, there was a need to maintain status quo with regards to implementation of the policy.
WhatsApp had introduced the policy on January 6, 2021, 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. It has decided to go ahead with the policy nonetheless, despite protests from civil rights groups and the central government.
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. The move is tied to WhatsApp’s bigger B2B play as well as its super app ambitions in India, which is heavily reliant on providing customer data analytics to small businesses for ecommerce.