India has asked WhatsApp to reconsider its announced privacy changes, the latest backlash the company is facing.
WhatsApp made headlines when it notified users it was changing its privacy terms. Under the new terms, the company would share data it collects with other Facebook-owned companies, regardless of whether users have accounts with them or not. Users originally had until February 8 to accept the terms or stop using WhatsApp.
Needless to say, the backlash was swift and severe. Users began abandoning WhatsApp, migrating to Signal and Telegram, while new downloads of WhatsApp plummeted. As a result, the company announced it was moving back the implementation date till May 15.
In the meantime, however, India is asking WhatsApp to abandon the plans altogether, according to Reuters.
“The proposed changes raise grave concerns regarding the implications for the choice and autonomy of Indian citizens,” wrote the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in an email to WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart and seen by Reuters. “Therefore, you are called upon to withdraw the proposed changes.”
Given how popular WhatsApp is in India, not to mention the company’s plans to expand its services there, India’s request could pose significant issues for WhatsApp’s proposed changes.