The development is a major cause of concern for WhatsApp as well as its parent Facebook because India is a huge market for them. Also, they intend to expand their payments and other businesses in India. Following flak from users, WhatsApp had last week announced that it would delay the implementation of the new policy until May which was earlier supposed to be implemented in February.
Email to WhatsApp boss
In an email to WhatsApp chief on January 18, the ministry said, “The proposed changes raise grave concern regarding the implications for the choice and autonomy of Indian citizens. Therefore, you are called upon to withdraw the proposed changes.
In the email, the government has said that Indian users have not been given the option to opt out of data sharing with Facebook companies. The government also said that the app is providing less choice to Indian users as compared to European users. “This differential and discriminatory treatment of Indian and European users is attracting serious criticism and betrays a lack of respect for the rights and interest of Indian citizens who form a substantial portion of WhatsApp’s user base,” it said.
In a bid to draw millions of traditional shop owners to use digital payments through WhatsApp, Facebook last year had invested $5.7 billion in the digital arm of oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries, Reuters reported. Notably, WhatsApp has around 400 million users in India.
These ambitious plans of the social media giant may get seriously affected if users ditch WhatsApp to join rival social media apps such as Signal and Telegram. Interestingly, a surge has been witnessed in the downloads of Signal and Telegram in the past few weeks after WhatsApp announced this changes