India Reviewing Antitrust Allegations Against Facebook’s WhatsApp?

India’s antitrust watchdog is looking into allegations that Facebook’s WhatsApp is abusing its dominant position by offering payment services to its vast base of messaging app users in the country, three sources told Reuters on Friday, May 15.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is reviewing a complaint filed in mid-March alleging that WhatsApp was bundling its digital payment facility within its messaging app, allowing it to abuse its market position and penetrate India’s booming digital payments market, the sources said.

Two of the sources told Reuters the complainant in the case was a lawyer, but declined to divulge the identity of the person. Reuters could not independently ascertain who filed the case.

The complaint, which has previously not been reported, comes at a critical time for WhatsApp, which is aggressively working to fully launch its payments platform in India, where it has been beta testing it with 1 million users since 2018.

Lack of regulatory clearances have meant WhatsApp has struggled to offer the service to its around 400 million users in India, its biggest market worldwide.

The CCI can order its investigations arm to conduct a wider probe into the allegations, or throw out the case if it finds no merit in it.

“The case is in initial stages .. senior members of CCI are reviewing it but a final decision hasn’t been reached,” said the first of the three sources, all of whom declined to be identified as the case details were private.

Full Content: Reuters

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