The Competition Commission of India directed its investigation arm, the director general, to complete the inquiry after prima facie finding that the Facebook-owned company has violated competition law provisions through its “exploitative and exclusionary conduct” in the garb of the policy update.
According to WhatsApp, the update does not expand the platform’s ability to share data with Facebook but intends to give users further transparency about how it collects, uses and shares information.
The Competition Commission said the veracity of these claims by WhatsApp would be examined during the investigation. It has asked the director general to submit a report within 60 days.
The commission also said that users, who are owners of their personalised data, are entitled to be informed about the extent, scope and precise purpose of sharing such information with other Facebook companies.
The regulator added that such incomplete disclosures hide the actual data cost that a user incurs for availing services of the messaging company.
“There appears to be no justifiable reason as to why users should not have any control or say over such cross-product processing of their data by way of voluntary consent, and not as a precondition for availing WhatsApp’s services,” it said.
On February 15, the Supreme Court had directed WhatsApp to give an undertaking that private data of users was not being shared with a third party. The court told the messaging platform that people valued their privacy more than money.