The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has recently told the Delhi High Court that WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy of 2021 has not been withdrawn. Hence, its probe concerning the policy should be allowed to proceed.



  • In January 2021 WhatsApp rolled out a new privacy policy and had given users time till 28th February 2021 to accept and update.
  • However, some of the features of the new privacy policy triggered debates and seemed controversial.
    • For instance, the new policy does not provide the users with the option to opt-out of their data being shared with Facebook Inc, WhatsApp’s parent company.
  • Due to public push back, WhatsApp had extended the deadline to update to May 2021.


Suo-moto action by CCI

  • Subsequently, CCI on its own had decided to initiate a probe into WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy based on news reports regarding the same.
  • WhatsApp and Facebook had subsequently challenged before the single judge CCI’s March 2021 order directing a probe against them.
    • Their argument was that the issue concerning its new policy was already pending consideration before the high court and the Supreme Court.


CCI’s argument

  • CCI, recently, informed the High Court that WhatsApp has still not withdrawn its updated privacy policy of 2021 and urged the court to let them proceed with the probe.
  • It argued that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp would lead to excessive data collection and stalking of consumers for targeted advertising to bring in more users.
  • Therefore, this may amount to abuse of dominant position.


About ‘Competition Commission of India’ –

  • The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, follows the philosophy of modern competition laws. The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
  • The objectives of the Act are sought to be achieved through the Competition Commission of India, which has been established by the Central Government with effect from 14th October 2003.
  • CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government (not less than 2 members). It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
  • The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.


Significance of CCI –

  • Competition is the best means of ensuring that the ‘Common Manor Aam Aadmihas access to the broadest range of goods and services at the most competitive prices.
  • With increased competition, producers will have maximum incentive to innovate and specialise. This would result in reduced costs and wider choice to consumers. A fair competition in market is essential to achieve this objective.
  • The goal of CCI is to create and sustain fair competition in the economy that will provide a ‘level playing field’ to the producers and make the markets work for the welfare of the consumers.
  • The main objective of competition law is to promote economic efficiency using competition as one of the means of assisting the creation of market responsive to consumer preferences. The advantages of perfect competition are three-fold: allocative efficiency, which ensures the effective allocation of resources, productive efficiency, which ensures that costs of production are kept at a minimum and dynamic efficiency, which promotes innovative practices.” – Supreme Court of India in 2010.