WhatsApp Privacy Policy Bites It Back: Delhi HC Opens CCI Probe Doors

WhatsApp will have to answer for its abusive privacy policy!

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WhatsApp announced a controversial privacy policy in the year 2020. It contained certain conditions which seemed unfair to the users. Despite facing much flak, WhatsApp did not revise the policy and instead extended the acceptance deadline. The majority of users eventually accepted the new policy, even if it was widely unfair.

But in a turn of events, CCI (Competition Commission of India) began an investigation on whether WhatsApp was abusing its dominant position. WhatsApp challenged CCI in Delhi High Court, requesting to stop the investigation. But the judge felt that the CCI probe was from an entirely different angle and didn’t stop the investigation.

Why is CCI investigating WhatsApp?

The Competition Commission of India is a market regulator that looks out for dominant players in the market and ensures a level-playing field for other competitors. WhatsApp’s penetration in India is impressive. There are many feature-rich and safer alternatives available but Indians never left WhatsApp. Despite the outrageous policy update, very few migrated to other apps.

CCI is investigating this matter because WhatsApp exerts dominance in the instant messaging apps market. It has become so intertwined with the daily lives of users that leaving it is not an option. So, WhatsApp knowingly abused its dominance and coerced its users to accept the new privacy policy. Those who didn’t accept the policy before the deadline would be literally ‘kicked out’ of the app.

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Image: Abubakar Mohammed/Fossbytes

The hue and cry about the policy were due to certain unfair changes. Once the user accepted the policy, WhatsApp could share personal data about the users with all companies belonging to Facebook (now Meta). They could use that data to profile users and then target users for ads based on the info. WhatsApp even tried to delude users by highlighting the users that messaged would be E2E encrypted.

The CCI probe will investigate for variety of concerns, including why it didn’t have an opt-out option for users and instead preferred to kick them out of the app. You can read the complete list of investigation points as well as the case history on the IFF website. We hope that the courts direct to change the controversial privacy policy for Indian users.

Abhishek Mishra

Abhishek Mishra

I love exploring technology and devote my time to curating detailed posts and supplying credible information to inquisitive users. I wish I had some spare time to play a few RPGs or clean my desk.

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