India Probes WhatsApp’s New Privacy Policy

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Wednesday, March 24, ordered a probe into the privacy policy update announced by Facebook-owned WhatsApp, claiming the messaging service breached antitrust laws in the guise of its policy update.

WhatsApp announced in January it was updating its privacy policy to allow it to share some user data with parent Facebook and other group firms, resulting in a global backlash against the messaging app including in its biggest market, India.

WhatsApp told the antitrust body that the policy update, which became effective in May, raised no competition law concerns, according to a copy of the antitrust order reviewed by Reuters.

The 21-page order also asked its investigation unit to conduct the probe and submit a report within 60 days. Such probes typically take several months.

WhatsApp’s conduct in sharing users’ data with other Facebook firms, in a way that is “neither fully transparent nor based on voluntary and specific user consent,” appears unfair to users, the watchdog added.

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