Facebook executives will field questions from a parliamentary panel on Thursday about the changes to WhatsApp’s privacy, news agency Reuters reported citing sources, days after the messaging platform was asked by the government to withdraw them.
The parliamentary standing committee is also examining the issue of safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social and online media platforms. The agenda also includes the safety of women online.
Calling the changes “discriminatory” because the company had a different policy for European users, the government objected to the “invasive” proposal to share user metadata with businesses on its platforms.
Demand for rival applications such as Signal and Telegram surged on privacy concerns and WhatsApp last week decided to delay the new policy launch to May from February.
With 400 million users, India is WhatsApp’s biggest market, and the messaging service has big plans for the country’s growing digital payments space, including selling health insurance via partners.
Facebook last year invested $5.7 billion in the digital unit of Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate Reliance Industries, with a big part of that aimed at drawing in ten of millions of traditional shop owners to use digital payments via WhatsApp.
The proposed changes were postponed last week as WhatsApp sought to reassure users and authorities.
WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media platforms, including Twitter, have also been part of consultations with the government over a data protection bill that is currently being reviewed by a parliamentary panel.
(With inputs from Reuters)