The probe aims to “ascertain the full extent, scope and impact of data sharing through involuntary consent” that the update would enable. The CCI argues that WhatsApp – a subsidiary of Facebook – demonstrated “exploitative and exclusionary conduct” through the policy update in a way that contravenes local legislation.
The commission added that the updated policy could further jeopardise competition by allowing Facebook to “reinforce” its lead in the market. The CCI probe marks India’s second strike against the proposed update, after the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology called on WhatsApp to abandon the move and revise its policies around data privacy.
WhatsApp’s policy update was originally slated for February but outcry over the move forced it to delay implementation. For its part, WhatsApp maintains that the update will only affect how businesses use the platform, rather than acting as an overhaul of its data retention system.