Following severe public backlash, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the country’s anti-trust watchdog, on Thursday opened a probe into WhatsApp’s “exploitative and exclusionary conduct… in the garb of this policy update”.
In January, WhatsApp, which boasts around 400 million users in India, stated that it was looking forward to “engaging with the CCI” after the Indian anti-trust watchdog first decided to check the potential impact of the policy on WhatsApp users in India.
Highlighting other concerns regarding WhatsApp’s mandatory policy, the CCI noted aspects such as its “opacity, vagueness, open-endedness, and incomplete disclosures”.
”Users have not been provided with appropriate granular choice, neither up front nor in the fine print, to object to or opt-out of specific data sharing terms, which prima facie appear to be unfair and unreasonable for WhatsApp users”, the CCI said in 21-page order on Thursday.
The app that claims to be used by two billion people worldwide has said that it does not share or store information such as call logs and message content as well as locations exchanged privately between users in their chats.
WhatsApp has repeatedly been flashing reminders on its app asking users to either accept the policy by 15 May, or delete their accounts.