Publish- January 19, 2021, 08:43 PM
S Kumar - UNB Delhi Correspondent
Update- January 23, 2021, 01:02 AM
The Electronics and Information Technology Ministry has asked WhatsApp to immediately withdraw the "discriminatory" policy for Indian users, barely four days after the messaging app itself deferred its new policy on information sharing with Facebook.
In a letter to WhatsApp's global CEO Will Cathcart, the Ministry has made it clear that the new policy of WhatsApp that proposes to share the metadata of users' chat with business accounts with other Facebook companies is "discriminatory".
The Ministry has also conveyed to WhatsApp that the new policy "would create a honeypot of information about users with Facebook groups, which can create security risks and vulnerabilities for users", an official told the Indian media.
India is WhatsApp's biggest market.
UNB had earlier reported that more and more people in India were migrating to other instant messaging apps like Signal and Telegram, after WhatsApp announced its data-sharing policy change.
Signal witnessed some 7.5 million installs globally through the Apple App and Google Play stores from January 6-10, according to California-based mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower. Similarly, Telegram saw over 5.6 million downloads globally in the same period.
In India, over a million have already downloaded Signal and Telegram in the past week, according to an estimate.
"Though WhatsApp is a household name in India, people have started migrating to other more privacy-focused messaging apps, particularly Signal. The figure, as per our estimates, is at least a million," technology expert Rahul Gaba told UNB.
"So, it's privacy over convenience, for Indians, particularly the urban class. Moreover, the trend clearly shows that Signal is going to gain more ground in India," Gaba added.
WhatsApp recently rolled out notifications informing users about an update in its Terms of Service that would pave the way for the app to share data with Facebook. WhatsApp gave users time till February 8 to agree to the policy in order to continue using the service.