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Home / India / Centre examining WhatsApp’s privacy policy amid backlash

Centre examining WhatsApp’s privacy policy amid backlash

Decision regarding summoning messaging platform for explanation likely soon
WhatsApp counts India as one of its biggest markets globally, with 400 million users in the country.

Our Bureau, Agencies   |   New Delhi   |   Published 14.01.21, 02:39 PM

Amid backlash over WhatsApp’s controversial changes of linking its users’ data to Facebook’s other products and services, the government is examining and evaluating this privacy policy of the messaging platform, sources said.

The IT Ministry is engaged in internal discussions regarding the implications of the recent update by the Facebook-owned platform, said the sources.

The issue needs to be looked at, in detail, given that concerns have been raised by a large section of users including some top business leaders, they added.

WhatsApp counts India as one of its biggest markets globally, with 400 million users in the country.

Sources further said that WhatsApp’s policy update would also be evaluated in the context of the current legal framework.

A decision regarding summoning WhatsApp for explanation is likely to be taken soon.

The development comes amid a raging debate over WhatsApp’s controversial update in its terms of service and privacy policy around how it processes user data and partners with Facebook to offer integrations across the social media giant’s products.

WhatsApp had informed users about these changes through an in-app notification, last week. It said that users will have to agree to the new terms and policy by February 8, in order to continue using the platform.

This led to a user backlash and triggered memes on the internet over WhatsApp’s alleged sharing of user information with Facebook. Many users have also started shifting to rival platforms like Telegram and Signal, and these platforms have seen millions of downloads globally in the immediate aftermath of the event.

Amid the public furore, WhatsApp, on its part, has sought to assuage users’ concerns saying its latest policy update does not affect the privacy of messages on the platform.

In a blogpost earlier this week, WhatsApp emphasised that it does not share users’ contact lists or data of groups with Facebook for advertisement purposes.

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