Why the Supreme Court Shouldn't Allow WhatsApp to Share Data with Facebook

April 2, 2017 Published Work
The Wire

Facebook paid $22 billion (Rs.1,472.79 crore) – or, almost 2.5 times Facebook's 2013 gross revenues – to buy WhatsApp, a company with net loss of over $138 million at the time. Why? One obvious reason, of course, was to stave off potential competition and start its way towards becoming a social media conglomerate.

Less talked about, however, is how the acquisition would allow Facebook access to WhatsApp's user base and user data – WhatsApp accounts for over 1 billion users who make over 500 million phone calls, share 700 million photos, 100 million videos and 1 billion messages a day.

India, with over 160 million active users, is WhatsApp's biggest market and conceivably contributed significantly to the above valuation.

WhatsApp will become the owner of the photos, texts and information that Indians exchange on the app, and if it decides, WhatsApp may share the personal information of its Indian users with Facebook, third parties or scamsters, unless Chief Justice J.S. Khehar intervenes this May.

Other countries have taken initiatives to prevent the sharing of data. In the European Union, data regulators have already warned WhatsApp about sharing the data of European citizens with Facebook, with the social network firm agreeing last November to temporarily halt data sharing.

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This article was also syndicated by Business Standard, 04/03/2017.