Whatsapp May Quit India Over Regulations; Threatens Political Parties With Ban During Lok Sabha Elections
Whatsapp has made it clear: They will not share data with Govt.
Whatsapp has decided to take a hard stand on the issue on data sharing regulations being forced by Indian Govt. For the first time ever, Whatsapp has said that they can leave India, if Govt. insists on enforcing the rules.
Meanwhile, as Lok Sabha elections are very near, Whatsapp has issued a threat to all political parties in India: Their respective account can be banned if they don’t follow the rules.
It seems that Whatsapp now means business.
Whatsapp: We Can Quit India Over Regulations
Since last year, Govt. of India has been pressurizing Whatsapp to share users’ data with them. Whatsapp has denied this request, several times.
Indian Govt. has even threatened Whatsapp with a ban.
But now, Whatsapp has made it clear that there is no way they can share user information with Govt. And even if that means quitting India entirely.
With 230 million users, India is Whatsapp’s largest userbase, and if Whatsapp quits India, then everything will change for them.
And for us.
Carl Woog, WhatsApp`s Head of Communications has clearly stated: “The proposed changes are going overboard and are not consistent with strong privacy protections that people around the world are seeking,”
As per Carl, in case Whatsapp introduced a feature to trace messages, and start sharing data with Govt., then their core product will change.
And this cannot happen. Hence, leaving Indian operations seems a better way. This has been said indirectly by Carl, and Whatsapp.
He said, “It will not help to speculate what is to come. There is a process in place in India to discuss this issue”.
Even Google and Microsoft, along with Facebook and others are resisting this move by Indian Govt. to trace users, and to share data.
Infact, Whatsapp messages are encrypted end to end, and even Whatsapp cannot read them.
With Whatsapp’s warning over quitting India, this has indeed become a complex issue now.
How will Govt. respond now?
Whatsapp To Indian Political Parties: Stay Within Rules
As Lok Sabha Elections are coming near, Whatsapp has made sure that political parties don’t misuse the platform.
In a direct warning to all political leaders and parties, Whatsapp has stated that they won’t hesitate to ban their accounts if they resort to violating their policies.
This means broadcasting mass messages to groups and spreading fake news.
Without mincing any words, Carl Woog said, “We have seen a number of (political) parties attempt to use WhatsApp in ways that were not intended and our firm message to them is using it in that way will result in bans,”
Whatsapp is mainly afraid that political parties will resort to automated bots and mass-circulation of messages to lure voters, via Whatsapp. And these are not allowed as per Whatsapp policies.
Carl has emphasized that Whatsapp is a private messaging platform, and not a megaphone to broadcast a message to masses.
Whatsapp has learned during last year’s Karnataka elections that Indian politics is very competitive, and political parties can leave no stone unturned to ensure victory. Abusing Whatsapp and other messengers can be a possibility as well.
This is the reason Whatsapp has introduced new tools and software to track such unusual behavior and to stop mass-messaging.
Over 2 million Whatsapp accounts have been banned in the last 12 months, over these issues.
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