The order was passed by the CCI (whose primary function is to act as a watchdog of sorts, and look out for and eliminate any such practices which are seen as having an adverse effect on competition, and to promote and sustain healthy competition while protecting the needs of consumers) on March 24th, wherein it had called for the investigation to be completed within 60 days. Its order had read, “Today’s consumers value non-price parameters of services viz. quality, customer service, innovation, etc. as equally if not more important as price. The competitors in the market also compete on the basis of such non-price parameters. Reduction in consumer data protection and loss of control over their personalised data by the users can be taken as reduction in quality under the antitrust law.”
One thing to note is that in its petition, Facebook objected to being investigated, citing that the social media business led by it, and the messaging platform provided by WhatsApp, are two completely different entities. However, it still proceeded to ask the Commission to present evidence to support its claim of WhatsApp’s dominance, before the investigation is allowed to proceed.
The changes in the policy were first announced by the giant in January, and it has repeatedly said that the change will mean nothing for users’ private and personal chats, which will continue to operate under end-to-end encryption. The major change will be for users who have business accounts, and will be in terms of how WhatsApp shares the data from their chats, with other companies under the Facebook Group (which also includes Instagram).