WhatsApp indulging in anti-users practices: Centre tells Delhi High Court

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Thursday informed the Delhi High Court that instant messaging application WhatsApp is indulging in anti-user practices by obtaining ‘trick consent’ from users for its updated privacy policy.

The Centre further alleged that WhatsApp went ahead with its revised privacy policy and it does not comply with the Indian IT rules for social media platforms. In a fresh affidavit filed before the high court, the Centre slammed WhatsApp for obtaining ‘trick consent’ from users for its updated privacy policy. 

“Millions of Whatsapp users who haven’t accepted new policy are bombarded with notifications every day,” the government said.



The Centre further submitted that current notifications being pushed by WhatsApp on its users, existing and new ones, is against the very grain of prima facie opinion of the Competition Commission of India’s order dated March 24, 2021.

Centre urged the Delhi High Court to issue interim direction to WhatsApp to desist from any action of ‘push notifications’ onto users related to updated 2021 privacy policy and to place on the record number of times such notifications are being pushed daily & their conversion rate.

The Centre also added that the Facebook-owned messaging platform has unleashed its “digital prowess” over unsuspecting existing users, forcing them to migrate to the 2021 privacy policy before Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill becomes a law.

The affidavit was submitted before the high court hearing on the case began. The court, however, has adjourned the hearing of pleas challenging WhatsApp’s revised privacy policy.

The affidavit comes as WhatsApp last week said it will go ahead with its controversial privacy policy update. It, however, said that it will allow users to read it at “their own pace” and will also display a banner providing additional information.

The messaging app has told the court that its new privacy policy came into effect on May 15. But, it would not start deleting accounts of those users who have not accepted the policy yet. It will instead encourage them to get on board.

During the previous hearing, the Centre told the court that it views the new privacy policy of WhatsApp as a violation of the Indian Information Technology (IT) law and rules. It sought directions for the social media platform to make it clear whether it has confirmed the same.

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