SC rejects Facebook’s plea on CCI probe of WhatsApp: This is what the court said

Dismissing Facebook-parent Meta‘s plea challenging a Delhi High Court judgement allowing probe ordered by Competition Commission of India (CCI), the Supreme Court said that the chief national competition regulator is an independent authority “to consider any violation of the provisions of the Competition Act of 2002” and no interference is required by this court in the High Court order.
The bench added that when proceedings are initiated by CCI, it cannot be said that it’s without jurisdiction, and the CCI cannot be dissuaded from investigation an alleged violation of Competition Act, 2002. Dismissing the petitions, the top court said any observations of the high court in proceedings are to be treated as tentative and prima facie, and the matter is to be considered on its own merits.
In layman’s terms, the CCI probe to look into WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy pertaining to issues of an alleged infringement of user privacy will continue. The anti-trust regulator is investigating WhatsApp’s anti-competitive sharing of users’ data with Facebook and examining whether there is an abuse of dominance by WhatsApp privacy policy, which was updated in 2021.
In August this year, the Delhi High Court dismissed the appeals filed by WhatApp and Facebook (now Meta) challenging the single judge bench’s order which had refused to stay the CCI’s last year’s order.

What is WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy
WhatsApp updated its privacy policy in 2021, according to which users must agree that the instant messaging app can share data from business conversations with Facebook. WhatsApp says that if users do not agree to the new policy, their account will lose access to various features.
It was clarified that users won’t have access to their WhatsApp chat list. They will only be able to perform basic tasks such as answer or make incoming voice or video calls as well as read or reply to messages when a WhatsApp notification hits your phone. WhatsApp also said that if users don’t accept the policy, their accounts will not be deleted. WhatsApp will send “persistent reminders” to users about accepting the new policy. It was also cleared that even when users accept WhatsApp’s new policy, their chat will remain end-to-end encrypted. No third-party or Facebook can see users’ private chats or calls.

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