On March 24, CCI had directed its investigation arm, the director general, to complete the inquiry within 60 days after prima facie finding that the Facebook-owned company has violated competition law provisions through its “exploitative and exclusionary conduct” under the garb of the policy update.
During Thursday’s hearing, a bench of Justice Navin Chawla said the order for an inquiry cannot be quashed merely because the anti-trust regulator did not wait for the verdict of the cases pending before the supreme court and high court. WhatsApp claimed the commission “jumped the gun” by starting suo motu proceedings, adding that the investigation was a “headline-grabbing endeavour.”
The judge said he found no merits in the petitions filed by Facebook and WhatsApp, according to Live Law.
According to WhatsApp, the update does not expand the platform’s ability to share data with Facebook but intends to give users further transparency about how it collects, uses and shares information.
The Competition Commission said the veracity of these claims by WhatsApp would be examined during the investigation. It added that users, who are owners of their personalised data, are entitled to be informed about the extent, scope and precise purpose of sharing such information with other Facebook companies.
On Feb. 15, the supreme court had directed WhatsApp to give an undertaking that private data of users was not being shared with a third party. The court told the messaging platform that people valued their privacy more than money.