“In fulfilment of its sovereign responsibility to protect the rights and interests of Indian citizens, the government of India will consider various options available to it under laws in India,” Meity said in its letter.
The ministry said that many Indian citizens depend on WhatsApp to communicate in everyday life. “It is not just problematic, but also irresponsible, for WhatsApp to leverage this position to impose unfair terms and conditions on Indian users, particularly those that discriminate against Indian users vis-à-vis users in Europe,” it said in its letter.
WhatsApp has more than 400 million users in India, which is the app’s biggest market globally. The Indian ministry said that the messaging platform is misusing its dominant position in the market.
The company, however, changed its stance and clarified in courts that no user accounts will be deleted. It also clarified that the policy update doesn’t change its data-sharing practices with Facebook and won’t impact how people communicate privately with friends and family wherever they are in the world.
Various Indian companies reportedly issued advisories to employees, asking them to avoid sharing sensitive information on WhatsApp. They have also asked employees to stop using the messaging platform for critical business calls.